No one had the guts to approach Sourav Ganguly for match-fixing: Former bookie
An industry expert from the early 2000's explained why 'Dada' was feared in the betting fraternity
Back in 2010, former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly revealed that he was never approached by a bookie for prospective match-fixing. Considering his position within the country’s cricketing hierarchy, it was quite difficult to fathom why ‘Dada’ was never approached by the betting mafia. Sportskeeda spoke to a former bookie, who had the answer to this particular question.
He said, “During the time Sourav Ganguly was the captain, most bookies wanted him to fix matches. Not just him, even Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble, because they knew if they could have them on their side, they could influence the entire team as per the odds. But, they also knew that it could never happen, because Dada was one of the most patriotic captains. The bookies were scared to approach him as they knew, he would turn them in. So, it was a grown consensus that Ganguly cannot be sold and no one had the guts to approach him, as it could put their business into jeopardy”
On being asked, why he was never approached by bookie, Ganguly said, “May be the bookies judge players by their characters before approaching them. I always attempted to put an appearance where I would take none of this kind of non-sense. Yes, conversations between players about these things did come up, but it never went beyond that.”
People have weird stereotypes about how bookies function: Source
Speaking about details of fixing during the early 2000’s, our source said, “It’s very weird how people have stereotypes of fixing in their head. They think the bookie, directly approaches the player with money. You have to understand that the essential driving force for everyone is money, anybody can be sold. So, hotel staff, drivers, officials and office boys, they are all essential to the entire scheme. There also code words that are used. No one approaches the player saying ‘yeh le paisa,’ it’s more ‘Dadaji theek hai na, Sir,’ which acted as a signal for the money reaching the right place.”
A similar tactic was used during the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing case, where the driver earned close to Rs 2.5 crores acting as a messenger of information. Our source added, “Since I’ve been out of the business for a while now, I cannot comment about the current state. But, during that time, if you could convince the cricketer to fix once, you’re sorted. Post that you can even give him lesser amount, as we have it on record that he fixed. So, if he gives in the first time, after that it becomes like a vicious circle.”
Movies and media have often indicated that ball-by-ball fixing is the most lucrative. However, our source believes it’s the least. He said, “In those days, ball by ball never mattered, what really bought in the money were session betting, where people bet on how much a player or team would make in a session. The player was asked to play slow for around 20 – 25 minutes, the player doesn’t even think he is cheating, as he attempts to play quicker later and make it up. But what he doesn’t know is that the session score reduces and that’s what people bet on. A session usually lasted like 8-13 overs 13-21 overs, those were designated before the match.”
According to our source, who was a bookie before the IPL begun, India Pakistan matches raked in the most amount of money, followed by the World Cup and the Ashes.