‘Ashamed to see this’ – India U19 World Cup winner alleges match-fixing in Kolkata league cricket

Amidst the passionate and storied landscape of Indian cricket, a disconcerting whisper of malpractice has reared its unwelcome head. Shreevats Goswami, a celebrated member of India’s triumphant U19 squad in the 2008 World Cup, has ignited a storm of controversy with allegations pointing towards match-fixing in the prestigious Super division of Kolkata league cricket—a development that, if proven, threatens to cast a long shadow over the sport’s integrity at the domestic level.

Goswami turned to social media to publicize his suspicions, posting videos on his Facebook account that depicted questionable dismissals during a clash between two renowned teams—Mohammedan Sporting and Town Club. The footage showcased, with apparent clarity, two batsmen from Mohammedan Sporting being casually dismissed, an event Goswami could not rationalize as anything but suspicious. His accusation posits an insidious erosion of the sport’s very foundation, as he lamented, “This is super division match in Kolkata club cricket, 2 big teams doing this, any idea what’s going on here ?? I am ashamed to see this having played the game which is so close to my heart. I love cricket and I love playing in Bengal but looking at this breaks my heart. Club cricket is heart & soul of Bengal cricket please don’t ruin it. I think this is called ‘got up’ cricket. Where is the media now?”

By referencing “got up” cricket—an informal descriptor for rigged matches—Goswami alluded to an under-the-table arrangement that undermines the competitive spirit of the game. This blemish on the cricketing landscape sends ripples of concern across aficionados and custodians of the sport alike.

Acting with a measure of due diligence, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), under the guidance of its chief Snehasish Ganguly, has initiated an inquiry into these dire claims. “We have called a tournament committee meeting on March 2 to take up the matter,” expressed Ganguly, as reported by the Press Trust of India (PTI). This statement indicates the seriousness with which the governing body is treating the allegations.

The match itself, hosted by the 22 Yards Academy in Salt Lake, culminated in a victory for Town Club, who managed to secure seven vital points towards their campaign. Shakib Habib Gandhi emerged as Town Club’s hero, his bat yielding an impressive 223 runs, laying the foundation for the team’s towering score of 446. In stark contrast, Mohammedan Sporting’s batting performance was lackluster, culminating in a score of 281 for nine, despite Joyjit Basu’s valiant century. Post Basu’s dismissal, the team’s resistance crumbled much like a poorly-constructed edifice.

While the individual excellence of players like Gandhi and Basu continues to inspire fans, the shadows cast by potential match-fixing threaten to undermine not only the achievements of the players but also the very integrity of the game that unites millions. For a sport that is innately enmeshed within the fabric of Bengal’s society, such allegations, if validated, could dismantle years of legacy and trust.

Cricket, often hailed as a gentleman’s game, is predicated on fairness and competition. The potential breach of these principles within Kolkata’s club cricket circuit shakes the foundational ethos of the discipline. Investigations will continue, and the cricket community remains hopeful that the purity of the sport they hold dear remains intact. But as the saga unfolds, all eyes rest on the Cricket Association of Bengal’s response to these unsettling allegations, waiting to see if integrity will emerge unscathed or if the essence of cricket in Bengal will encounter an unprecedented challenge.

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