The Indian Premier League’s corruption scandal claimed another victim when the umpire Asad Rauf was withdrawn from the Champions Trophy. Rauf, a Pakistani who has been on the ICC’s panel for seven years, was reported in India on Wednesday to be part of Mumbai police’s investigation into alleged spot fixing in the competition.
David Richardson, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council, said: “In the wake of reports that the Mumbai Police are conducting an investigation into Asad Rauf’s activities, we feel that it is in Asad’s best interests as well as those of the sport and the event itself, that he is withdrawn from participating in the ICC Champions Trophy.”
The nature of Rauf’s purported involvement has not been revealed. He has stood in more IPL matches than any other umpire this year.
If the ICC’s decision was inevitable it also demonstrates that the IPL probe has the potential to reveal many more names yet. The final of this year’s tournament is due to be played on Sunday but the climax to the 2013 event has been overshadowed by the arrests of three players, including the Test bowler S Sreesanth, and allegations that many more could be involved.
India’s parliament has already become involved and intends to pass a new Sports Bill by the end of June. The problem of illegal bookmaking which is at the heart of the issues will probably not be part of it. But there are fears that the scandal will undermine the world’s biggest tournament for good. While illicit betting on it is rife in India, legal bookmakers in England expect to take more on the IPL this year than on the Ashes.
Rauf has stood in 49 Tests and 98 one-day internationals as well as in two World Cups and all three World Twenty20s competitions. He played first-class cricket for 13 years.