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April 24, 2006
Manoj Prabhakar, the former Indian allrounder, has completed a five-year ban for his alleged involvement in match-fixing, and says he has no regrets about blowing the whistle on the involvement of other Indian players. In an attempt to implicate others in the match-fixing controversy in 2000, Prabhakar was himself banned for his own alleged involvement.
Five years on, Prabhakar, 43, told Mid-day, a Mumbai tabloid, that what he did needed to be done to clear up the Indian cricket system. "People may have saved their backsides, but I'm satisfied with what I did. Somebody had to clean the system; I proved that match-fixing was taking place," he said. "Kichad saaf karne ke liye, kichad me utar na hi padta hai [to clean the muck you have to get into it and you'll get stained too]."
Prabhakar was widely condemned by Indian cricket authorities and the media for implicating big players, including Kapil Dev, the former Indian captain and public hero. Prabhakar said Kapil had offered him 2.5 million rupees (USD 58,100) in 1994 to throw a match against Pakistan. However, Prabhakar maintained that he provided a platform for the youngsters to break free from issues that plagued Indian cricket, saying: "The way the [current' players are performing, you can now see the difference in approach."
Currently in Pakistan with the Indian Seniors team, Prabhakar also raised the issue of Shoaib Akhtar's bowling action. "I have doubts about Shoaib Akhtar's action. Even the Pakistan players have said that," he said. "You will find that he is averaging 85mph and then he starts bowling at 95 mph, which is a huge increase." He added that if a bowler has a deformity and is consistent in his bowling action then it is fine, but if a bowler changes his action deliberately, he should be called.
Prabhakar also praised Greg Chappell for his role as India's coach. "Chappell is doing a great job. He has proved very good for Indian cricket," he said. "He is aiming for the World Cup and is experimenting to get the best 15 to 16 players. Whatever he is trying, will be best for Indian cricket. A decade ago nobody could've even dreamt of such experiments. The strength of the current team is that you've most of the bowlers who are quite handy with the bat also. During our time, once the top six departed, the match was lost."
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