Paying to play? The Indian bribery scandal November 27, 2003

Vanka Pratap retracts allegation

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Vanka Pratap, the former Hyderabad and India A player who added fuel to the bribery saga by stating that he was asked to pay for a place in the Indian team, has now retracted the allegation.

"I have never made any allegation against HCA [Hyderabad Cricket Association] or any selector," Pratap said. "No selector has ever approached me directly. I have never named anyone." The comments came after the HCA sent a show-cause notice to Pratap, in view of the prior allegations.

Earlier, Pratap had alleged that he was asked to pay a selector to play for India. He told the Sahara Samay Rashtriya television channel, "I have been approached but I didn't bother."

The identity of the selector was unclear, but the report quoted Pratap: "Someone approached me on behalf of the selectors. I wouldn't like to name the selector but everybody in the Hyderabad cricket association knows who he is."

Alleging that places in the national team were up for sale, Pratap cited the example of Noel David, the former Hyderabad offspinner. David was selected for India's tour of the West Indies in 1996-97. "The selection of Noel raised eyebrows. Noel was not even sure of a place in the Hyderabad team but he was picked for the Indian team."

Pratap played 83 first-class matches, scoring 3957 runs at an average of 36.30, with a highest score of 136. He hit six centuries and 27 half-centuries in a ten-year career. He also played for India A against the West Indies A side in 1998-99.