Cricketer Sreesanth admits bribery; ball in BCCI's court

Arrested cricketer S Sreesanth has virtually admitted his involvement in 'spot-fixing' during the ongoing Indian Premier League cricket tournament even as his team, the Rajasthan Royals, is playing another match tonight.

Sreesanth, once considered a mainstay of India's bowling, has admitted that he has committed the crime, according to latest reports, even as his lawyers claim that he was framed by alleged bookie Jiju Janardan.

Three RR players have been arrested in a case, which shows the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in a very poor light, no matter how hard it might try to gloss over the issue and disclaim responsibility.

Ankeet Chavan, who is in custody along with Sreesanth, has already confessed his involvement in the betting scandal. He said on Thursday that greed got better of him, leading him to make a ''huge mistake''.

Investigations so far clearly point to the Pakistan-based Indian underground, including notorious figures like Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. Both are accused of masterminding terrorist attacks in India, particularly Mumbai.

It is nonetheless an open secret that they separately continue to hold vast properties and wield great influence in India's financial capital.

The three RR players arrested in Mumbai on Wednesday were Ajit Chandila, Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan. The last has confessed that bookies were prepared to pay Rs20 lakh or more for fixing a single six-ball over.

"During questioning, Chandila told police that he met bookies at Country Club in Manesar (near Delhi) on 6 April. The bookies asked him to rope in more players for spot fixing. He gave two names and the bookies asked him to bring them to a party where the deal could be discussed," IANS reported police sources as saying.

Chandila also told interrogators that in the 2012 IPL season, the last two overs of a match between the Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals ''might have been'' fixed.

Rahul Dravid, the RR captain whose integrity is beyond doubt, was aghast at the revelations. Nonetheless, he leads his scam-tainted team against the Hyderabad Sunrisers today.

Despite all the articles written asking for a reform of Indian cricket, most observers are in little doubt that the BCCI will continue with its money-grubbing ways, with scant if any regard for the viewers that have made India the financial powerhouse of the game, played passionately by a handful of countries.