India news September 18, 2010

Irfan reported gifts from stranger - team official

ESPNcricinfo staff

Irfan Pathan, the India medium-pacer, had reported to the team's assistant manager that he was given gifts by a stranger during the 2006 tour of Pakistan, the official has confirmed. Wing commander M Baladitya, the team's assistant manager on the tour, said the incident had taken place at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi.

Irfan was quoted by an Indian TV channel as claiming that he was sent expensive gifts by a "stranger", suspected to be a bookie, during the series. He said he never saw the person again and reported the matter to the authorities concerned. The story was endorsed by the man handling team operations on the tour.

"Irfan had told me that somebody came to his room and left expensive gifts for him", Baladitya told PTI. "I told him to return them immediately. However, he said he did not know who had kept the gifts in his room".

Baladitya, who was part of India's tours to Pakistan in 2004 and 2006, said he mentioned the incident in his tour report submitted to the BCCI after the series but not to the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit. "I was not dealing with the ICC but the BCCI," he said. "So I thought it was appropriate to bring the incident to their notice. During the tour I kept telling the players not to accept any gifts or contact anybody."

The 2006 tour was the Indian team's first away from home under a new BCCI regime led by Sharad Pawar with Niranjan Shah as its secretary. When contacted by ESPNcricinfo, Shah, who is in South Africa as a member of the Champions League Twenty20's governing council said, "I don't remember anything."