Corrupt cricketers to have records erased

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The Independent Online

Any Indian cricket player found guilty in a federal matchfixing investigation will be banned for life and his name erased from record books, India's cricket board chief has warned.

A.C. Muthiah also said cricket board officials could be expelled if they made rash allegations against their colleagues or players in the matchfixing scandal that has shaken up world cricket. The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing charges of betting and matchfixing by Indian cricketers.

"Too many of our members are making all sorts of allegations. It is nothing but a slander campaign," Muthiah told a news conference. "They are trying to settle personal scores. As a result, they do not realize how it is hurting the board."

He said he would back the players until the charges were proven.

"The board pledges its full support to all past and present players until they are proven guilty," he told reporters.

Indrajit Bindra, who heads the cricket board in the northern Punjab state, has quoted retired Indian cricketer Manoj Prabhakar as saying that Kapil Dev, former Indian captain, offered him dlrs 25,000 to underperform in a 1994 match against Sri Lanka.

Dev has denied the charge, and Prabhakar has not commented on the statement. Bindra has also accused the cricket board of corruption. On Tuesday, he submitted documents to the Central Bureau of Investigation that, he said, included evidence related to the case.

"Bindra is carrying on a tirade against the board ... It is becoming a joke," Muthiah said.

Indian police have accused former South African captain Hansie Cronje and four other team members of matchfixing. Cronje admitted receiving $8,200 from a bookmaker in connection with a betting scam, and the confession led to reports that many matches, including some at last year's World Cup, were fixed.