New Delhi:India's coach at the Azlan Shah hockey tournament, A K Bansal, is stunned over reports that several Malaysian players colluded to allegedly fix their last pool game against India at this year's tournament. He said he sees no reason for them (Malaysians) to do so.
Bansal told IANS that he finds it absurd that Malaysia, who were the runner-up in the last edition, would have intentionally lost that match, which resulted in them finishing last in the tournament.
"Malaysia were runner-up at the previous Azlan Shah tournament and were under pressure. I fail to understand why they would then choose to lose their last pool match and finish last," Bansal said.
A Malaysian tabloid reported that their national players, allegedly involved with betting syndicates, tanked their last league match against India 1-2 on May 17.
India went into the tournament with a bunch of youngsters after controversies surrounding the sacking of the National federation. But the Indians played well and against heavy odds to finish runner-up in the event. They lost to Pakistan in the final, after beating them in a league match.
"Our team beat some of the strongest sides like Pakistan to reach the final. We played well through out the tournament. Malaysia were among the strong teams but they were lacking in form. They lost all their matches and finished last," he said.
"The talk about match fixing is Malaysia's internal matter. I have never heard any such thing in hockey in my 25 years in the game," he said.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation has launched an internal probe and lodged a police complaint after it came to light that several of its players allegedly placed bets on their team losing the last pool game against India in the Azlan Shah Cup tournament at Ipoh in May.
"It is good that they have launched a probe in the matter. The truth should come out because hockey will be defamed otherwise," added Bansal.
Ad-hoc Committee member Aslam Sher Khan said it was an internal matter for the Malaysian team and their authorities. "It is there internal matter and we have nothing to do with it. Moreover, if the Malaysian players are involved, it is for them to look into it and I am told that an inquiry has been ordered."
"We have not received any communication from MHF or the International Hockey Federation in this regard. The Indian players performed tremendously (well) throughout the tournament and they did us proud," added Khan.