Dubai: British Indian Premier League (IPL) pundit Simon Hughes believes match-rigging claims levelled at the tournament are wide of the mark.
The analyst for UK broadcaster ITV has been a keen watcher of the IPL since its inception in 2008 and he says the players have too much to lose to risk fixing for a fast buck.
“There is always going to be that potential cloud hanging over the IPL because of what’s happened [in cricket] over the last 10 years,” Hughes told Gulf News.
“I’ve heard the odd thing from players saying that they suspect such and such a person, but nothing has been proved. I’d have thought the players would want to win — there’s a lot at stake, they can all win money out of this. I don’t see why they would rig anything because they’ve got a lot to lose and a lot to gain from playing well.
“I watched a game with [former England Test captain] Michael Vaughan last week and Sunrisers were going to lose [against Pune] until they took four wickets in an over. We were talking about it afterwards with somebody who hadn’t seen the game and he was sceptical about it, saying it must have been dodgy, but we both said not at all, we thought it was genuine. It was just terrible batting and a good bit of bowling and that happens in cricket.
“The trouble is you get incidents in the IPL which are quite extreme, like 30 off an over or a crash of wickets, and people immediately suspect that there’s something amiss. But the cricket is intense and fast-paced, so you are going to get extremes of performance at times and I believe it. I know there have been rumours about one or two players, but I think, in the main, it’s totally genuine. Although I might just be naive.”