November 1, 2000

Crowe thought he was just writing a column

Martin Crowe believes what he thought was a bona-fide payment for writing a column during the 1992 World Cup is behind his naming in a report on match-fixing in India.

Crowe is one of several players named in an Indian Central Bureau of Investigation report on match-fixing which is due to be released tomorrow.

Others include: former England captain Alec Stewart, former West Indian captain Brian Lara, Australians Mark Waugh and Dean Jones, Sri Lankans Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga, already disgraced South African captain Hansie Cronje and former Pakistan captain Saleem Malik.

Crowe said he was approached before the Cup by what he thought was the representative of a syndicate of Indian news outlets who wanted him to write a diary during the event.

"They said they wanted me to do it because it was being held in my home country.

"I said to them, 'Fine, send some money through up front' and when they did, I did business with them as you would do.

"I was paid $US3000 up front for a month's work which was to be for about 10 articles.

"I did a couple of columns with one guy and then Mukesh Gupta came on line.

"I asked him if he could send me a copy of one of his stories and he told me he couldn't.

"When I asked him why, he said to me that he was a bookie. I then told him if I ever caught up with him... and hung up," Crowe said.

He said it now seems that Gupta is now claiming Crowe provided him with information which he was probably gaining from.

"I don't know if he [Gupta] was involved in the initial payment or not. I received money but I don't know who it was from," he said.

Gupta is a key man in the Indian investigation.

The Hindu newspaper claims Indian player Manoj Prabhakar introduced a number of foreign players to a bookie variously known as M K Gupta, M K or John. Gupta either offered or paid money to the players.

The report also alleges that former Indian captain Mohamma Azharuddin has fixed cricket matches with the help of Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia. Ajay Sharma has also been mentioned.

Since the match-fixing controversy broke Prabhakar has been accusing other players with match-fixing involvement.

The Hindu also states that that allegations made by Prabhakar against Indian superstar and former coach Kapil Dev had "not been established."

By contrast, a Times of India report names "some foreign players who the bookies questioned by the agency alleged had been involved in match-fixing. They include a Pakistani, three Australians, two West Indians and an Englishman."

Another report in the same paper said: "There is no hard evidence against any of the players mentioned in the report but the evidence collected by interrogating several persons including prominent players and bookies, was enough to serve the purpose of giving a moral indictment to those involved in it."

"It went on to say, "Under the existing law, the evidence gathered makes out no case against the players they said and 'if the bookies are roped in as accused, it would be an uphill task for the CBI to prove charges against them.'"