Two Karnataka Premier League franchisees whose names have cropped up prominently in the ongoing match-fixing scandal in the T20 tournament, and who allegedly influenced cricketers CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi to fix matches, also own teams in the T10 League in Abu Dhabi that have some of international cricket’s biggest names on their roasters.
Gautam, a former Karnataka Ranji captain, and Kazi, another Ranji player from the state, were arrested on Thursday on the charges of fixing as many as four KPL matches in 2018 and 2019.
A day later, the Bengaluru police said the duo did so at the insistence of Belagavi Panthers’ owner Asfak Ali Thara, who was nabbed in September in the KPL fixing racket, and Bellary Tuskers’ Arvind Venkatesh Reddy , who has been questioned by the police.Thara was identified as the co-owner of the Kerala Knights team in the ICC-approved T10 league.
Some of the players in the squad included England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow, and West Indies’ T20 guns for hire, Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard. While the Knights disassociated themselves from Thara after his arrest, Reddy remains the co-owner of the Karnataka Tuskers team (previously known as Rajputs), which has on its payrolls names such as South Africa’s Hashim Amla, West Indies’s Evin Lewis and Marlon Samuels. The Knights do not feature in the 2019 edition of the league, which begins on November 14 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
According to a preliminary investigation report of the Bengaluru crime branch police on the arrest of Gautam, captain of Bellary in the KPL T20 tournament, and Kazi, an all rounder for the same team, the duo conspired with team owners and bookies to fix matches.
In one instance of alleged spot-fixing, Belagavi owner Asfak Ali Thara offered Gautam Rs 7.5 lakh to get a bowler to give more than 10 runs in an over during a game between Bellary and Bengaluru Blasters.