As per the recent reports, an Indian businessman had come up with an offer of giving $30,00o to fix Test matches to the Zimbabwean all-rounder Graeme Cremer in October last year through the former director of Zimbabwe Cricket Rajan Nayer. However, Cremer turned down the offer and reported about the offer to the International Cricket Council (ICC). On Tuesday, Nayer has handed a suspension of 20 years from all cricket-related activity by the ICC under its anti-corruption code.
Just weeks before the two-match Test series against West Indies in Zimbabwe, Nayer is reported to have met three Indians to discuss sponsorship for a domestic T20 tournament, according to ‘background facts’ released by the ICC on Tuesday. The reports also suggested that one of the 3 men was already on ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit’s radar.
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This person had asked Nayer during a telephone conversation about the chances of Cremer, the Zimbabwe skipper, being ready for fixing Test matches for money. Though Nayer, who had earlier clarified that he wasn’t the ‘right person’ for this, agreed to call Graeme with the intention of asking him to fix matches.
On October 9, Nayer contacted Creme through Whatsapp on October 9 and then called the captain on the telephone on the next day, 11 days before the first Test in Bulawayo. Recalling the incident during an interview with ICC, Cremer said, “Rajan, who I know quite well, messaged me and said he needed to meet urgently but I said ‘I can’t meet you’ because he was obviously in Harare, but I said ‘you can call anytime’. And then he called me the next day and told me that there was a guy in Dubai who wanted me to throw games or fix games… I can’t remember the term he used. From there, he went on to tell me that there would be no third party involved, the package would come straight to me. And then he said that guy would be phoning him back that evening. ‘Can I tell him you would think about it’? And that is when I told him I was not interested.”
According to the ICC’s verdict, Nayer indicated that he once thought Cremer would turn it down but later asked the player to keep the matter only between them. Nayer also called up Indian guy and informed the businessman that Cremer wasn’t interested in fixing matches. When questioned by ACU officials, Nayer acknowledged the fact that he conveyed the offer to Cremer. According to Nayer, the Indian guy had promised to give as many as $20,000 if he could help finalize the deal with the cricket board of Zimbabwe for sponsorship of the proposed T20 event for $200,000.
Describing the same, Cremer said, “I had never been in that situation before and I wasn’t sure how to react to it and it played on my mind for a couple of hours. I didn’t know where to go. I knew the regulations from ICC. It was late in the evening when I got the phone call and I thought of it a lot. I slept on it and then straightaway in the morning, I went to Heath Streak (Zimbabwe coach) and told him about the approach and we said the best thing is to speak to the manager and they can get hold of an ICC official.”
In an email of January 2018, Nayer formally acknowledged his mistake and now his 20-year ban will be backdated to the start of his provisional suspension on January 16, 2018, and as such, he will be eligible to participate in cricket related activities from January 16, 2038.