Spot fixing has marred Nepal’s first ICC-recognized franchise cricket league

Narayan Adhikari

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Kathmandu: Gyanendra Malla, captain of Kathmandu Knights, on Tuesday revealed that his team members were approached by match fixers.

Earlier the same day, a commentator of the tournament, posting a video on social media left the tournament suspecting match fixing in Nepal’s first franchise cricket tournament.

These two developments rocked Nepal’s first ever ICC-recognised franchise tournament–Nepal T20 league.

Following these two developments, Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane directed the Central Investigation Bureau to investigate if the games in the tournaments were fixed.

“The preliminary investigation found that a former Nepali national cricket team player, currently based in India, is also involved in spot fixing,” an investigation officer told Nepal Live Today.

“The fixers in India approached Nepali players through that former cricket player of Nepal. The police, however, are collecting detailed evidence from India and Nepal,” the officer said. “We are tracking the connection of fixers with Nepali players.”

Earlier in November, a team of police from the CIB arrested 31 Indians suspecting they were involved in betting in the match between Nepal and the United Arab Emirates played at TU stadium.

Following investigations, police claim that there may have been spot fixing rather than match fixing in the ongoing league at the TU Cricket Ground. “Match fixing is almost impossible. All team members must be united. It looks like fixers are involved in ball to ball spot fixing,” said a CIB source.

Despite the allegation by Malla, tournament commentator, and Nepal police’s investigation, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), the cricketing body of the country, brushed off the match fixing allegations by issuing a statement.

It is not only about suspicions of fixing, the league is also beset by the participating teams’ violation of payment agreement with their players. Players are yet to get salaries as per the contract.

As per the regulations, players should be paid by Seven3Sports via one-door system after franchises pay them the fees. But Jatin Ahluwalia, managing director of Seven3Sports, is already out of contact.

The CAN had signed an agreement withSeven3Sports, an Indian sports management company, to organize the first edition of the Nepal T20 League. CAN has given all commercial and strategic rights to Seven3Sports to organize the T20 competition for the next eight years.

The early exit of some players and officials, including Biratnagar’s batsman Sikandar Raza and Janakpur’s Indian coach Umesh Patwal, also raised the suspicion that there was spot fixing in the tournament.