The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on 13 July suspended Mumbai's Ranji Trophy player Hiken Shah for breaching the board's anti-corruption code. The 30-year-old Indian cricketer was suspended with immediate effect and the case has been referred to BCCI's disciplinary committee for further action.
BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya said the action against Shah was part of the Indian cricket board's zero tolerance policy towards corruption. He also revealed that the BCCI will take swift action against such incidents to set a precedent and control the menace of corruption in the game.
BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur also reiterated the board's commitment towards ensuring a clean game. He said that the incident demonstrates that BCCI's education policy against corruption is showing results, as the player approached was vigilant enough to report the matter to the board's corruption unit.
Who is Hiken Shah?
A left-handed batsman and leg-break bowler, the 30-year-old Indian cricketer plays for Mumbai in domestic cricket. Following consistent performances in inter-university cricket circuit, Shah made his debut for Mumbai in 2006 Ranji Trophy.
However, he failed to keep his place in the Mumbai's playing XI which was decorated with big stars, including Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Abhishek Nayar and Amol Muzumdar. Shah secured the No. 3 spot in the Mumbai batting order in the Ranji Trophy after consistent performances in the 2012 Safi Darashah tournament and the tour game against the visiting England team.
In the 37 Ranji Trophy games he has played so far, Shah has scored 2,160 runs including six hundreds and eight fifties.
The match-fixing offer
According to media reports, Shah approached his Ranji teammate Pravin Tambe with an offer to fix matches in the Indian Premier League (IPL) ahead of the 2015 season. Tambe has been a key spinner for 2008 IPL champions Rajasthan Royals and it is believed that Shah wanted to take advantage of his position. However, Tambe immediately reported the matter to the BCCI who instructed its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) to conduct an inquiry into the matter. After a detailed probe in the reported incident, the ACU found Shah guilty of breaching BCCI's Anti-Corruption Code.
Other tainted cricketers in IPL
In 2013, three players of Rajasthan Royals were arrested by the Delhi Police on charges of spot-fixing. Rajasthan's seamer S Sreesanth, spinner Ajit Chandila and all-rounder Ankeet Chavan were suspended by the BCCI on suspicion of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs during the IPL games. Sreesanth, who denied any wrongdoings, was subsequently banned for life by the Indian cricket board.
Apart from the players, Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra and Chennai Super Kings team official Gurunath Meiyappan were also found guilty of betting during the 2013 IPL season. The two accused are awaiting verdict of the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha committee which is likely to be rendered on 14 July.