Indian Premier League gives 'tainted' Sharjah a chance to redeem its dubious image

Indian Premier League officials will take the help of the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit to prevent unethical practices like match-fixing and betting. Bookies are known to operate from the Gulf. Top Indian cricketers will be returning to Sharjah for the first time after 2000. The IPL's first phase will be played in the UAE from April 16-30.

updated: March 13, 2014 19:04 IST
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At a time when the Indian Premier League is reeling under the match-fixing and betting scandal, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's decision to stage at least 16 matches of this year's IPL in the United Arab Emirates has raised a few eyebrows. Dubai and Sharjah were forbidden venues after the match-fixing scandal broke in 2000. A hub for bookies, anti-corruption units will have their hands full to keep IPL sparkling 'clean' this time. (Read: Life ban for any player involved in match-fixing in IPL 7, warns Rajeev Shukla)

India had blacklisted Sharjah as a cricket destination following the match-fixing scandal. The Indian team last played at the desert venue in October 2000 when it was skittled out for 54 by Sri Lanka in the final of the Coca-Cola Champions Trophy. India have not returned to Sharjah since, though the team did play two matches at the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi against Pakistan in 2006. At a time when BCCI has admitted to the Supreme Court that its anti-corruption mechanism needs to be more effective, hosting IPL in UAE seems to be a calculated decision. It is not known if playing matches in the Gulf has the government's approval. (ICC welcomes BCCI's decision to play IPL in UAE)

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