Mumbai: Expressing shock at the involvement of its Ranji player Hiken Shah in attempting to fix IPL games for which he was today suspended by BCCI, Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has decided to counsel its players about the dangers of trying to corrupt the game.
"We are very much shocked that yet another of our players (after Ankit Chavan in 2013) has allegedly done this. We shall take corrective measures by counselling our players on the dangers of these things. It's very sad," said MCA's joint secretary Dr P V Shetty, reacting to the development.
The BCCI said in a statement earlier that Shah was found guilty of breaching the Board's Anti-Corruption Code for participants and the matter was referred to its disciplinary committee for further action.
"BCCI would wish to inform that Mumbai Cricketer, Hiken Shah, has been suspended with immediate effect. He was found guilty of breaching BCCI's Anti-Corruption Code for participants," the Board said in a statement issued by secretary Anurag Thakur.
Shah has been found guilty of making a "corrupt approach" to a fellow-player, widely believed to be his Ranji teammate and leg spinner Pravin Tambe, in the run-up to this year's edition of IPL.
The matter was reported by Tambe to the BCCI's Anti-Corruption Security Unit which conducted an investigation into the matter and sent a report to the Board. Based on the ACU's report, the BCCI today suspended Shah, who is emplyed with the Customs department and is currently playing in the English league, with "immediate effect."
For Shetty, who owns the Payyade club for which left-handed middle order batsman Shah plays, the blow is all the more damning and he said everyone in MCA is surprised that someone could do this after having seen what happened to left arm spinner Chavan two years ago.
"After Ankit none of us ever thought another cricketer would attempt to do such things. But the BCCI must have investigated the matter and they must have suspended Hiken after getting evidence. We accept their decision and would implement it," said Shetty.
"All of them (cricketers) must have been reading the press reports and watching television about what happened to Chavan. What more effect can counselling have than this? Still we will tell our chief coach Chandrakant Pandit and our other age group coaches to counsel the boys on this aspect tomorrow when they have the meeting," said Shetty.
Chavan, who was banned by the BCCI from playing any grade of cricket after being found guilty of indulging in corrupt practices in the 2013 edition of IPL, had approached the MCA requesting it to release his Ranji Trophy match fees.
"We had released his match fees on humanitarian grounds," said Shetty. The MCA official said apparently the incident involving Shah and whistle blower Tambe happened during the last Ranji season before IPL but none in the MCA knew about it.
"None of us were even aware of this," said Shetty.
"Hiken Shah made a corrupt approach to one of his colleagues from first-class cricket, who is also a member of one of the IPL teams. The approached player immediately informed the incident to his franchise team. The franchise team followed the process of informing the incident to the Anti Corruption Unit of the BCCI," the BCCI said in its statement announcing the player's suspension.
The 30-year-old batsman, who is not part of any IPL team, has played 37 first-class matches for Mumbai and has 2160 runs at an average of 42.35.
The incident came to light first through a newspaper report and then by statements from the BCCI and IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals, for which Tambe plays, that a "Royals" player had been "approached" to fix the IPL games.
"I believe the ACU's enquiry has been going on for the last four months. Today morning I was informed about the suspension of Hiken Shah from Delhi by BCCI's General Manager of Cricket Operations, Dr M V Sridhar," said Shetty.
Shetty further said when Shah spoke to him 15-20 days ago before going to England, he gave no hint of this at all.
"BCCI, by now, must have already informed the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) about Hiken," said Shetty, which meant the suspended player will be able to take no further part in the English league in which he's played for Whalley Cricket Club in the Ribblesdale Cricket League in Lancashire.
Shah has even played against England three years ago in a warm-up game at the D Y Patil Stadium and made an impressive 92 to regain his spot in the Mumbai Ranji team and was a prolific scorer in the 2012-13 season. But last season due to poor form he played in only two games for the 40-time Ranji champions.
"He got married only two years ago and shifted from near my place (in South Mumbai) to suburban Mira Road. He has a small child too," said MCA's treasurer Nitin Dalal.