Group of Indians scam Russians with fake cricket league
Police in India have arrested the gang behind the cricket scam
Indian Police have arrested conmen for tricking Russian gamblers with a fake version of cricket’s elite Indian Premier League.
The gang behind the scam hired a farmer’s field in the Indian city of Gujarat and set up cameras that filmed the false games.
According to Achal Tyagi, who is a top police official in the Mehsana district in northwestern India, four men have been apprehended in connection with the elaborate hoax.
“They had umpires with walkie-talkie sets to officiate as they have in IPL and international cricket matches,” Tyagi explained.
“The setup was good enough to trick unsuspecting people into believing it was a genuine cricket league.”
The Indian Premier League ended in May.
Then, the ‘Indian Premier Cricket League’ — a fake league designed to trick Russian bettors — began play.
Farmers wore IPL jerseys and fake crowd noise was played on speakers.
They made $4K before being shut down. pic.twitter.com/U2SnnU9FpN
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) July 12, 2022
Tyagi said the umpires told players if they should score runs or concede their wicket depending on instructions that were passed over walkie-talkie sets the organizers gave them.
In turn, the gang behind the scam also received orders from a Russian accomplice over the Telegram messaging app.
Local reports say that laborers and unemployed citizens were hired to act as players while donning official IPL kits and were paid around 400 rupees ($5).
The games, which used teams with fake names, were then streamed live on YouTube to betting operations in Russia that did not suspect anything was amiss.
The Times of India says that a man who could impersonate famous commentator Harsha Bhogle well was then employed to add authenticity to the action which he described.
“Crowd noise sound effects downloaded from the internet made the ambiance appear authentic,” the Times said.
The four men have been charged with criminal conspiracy and gambling, with betting on cricket illegal in India.
According to police, the “chief organizer” of the scam, Shoeb Davda, worked in a Russian pub for eight months.
Upon his capture, Shoeb told cops that he met a man named Asif Mohammed at the establishment who masterminded the con by introducing Russian punters to cricket’s nuances.
The scam is likely to have found success due to Russians generally not following cricket and having little idea – if any – of what the Indian Premier League looks like.
On a recent trip to New Delhi, however, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin welcomed increased bilateral cooperation between the two countries which would include potentially popularizing cricket in Russia.
India is renowned for its obsession with the sport, with the 10-team Indian Premier League, often referred to as the IPL, the world’s richest cricket championship which recently sold its media rights for the next five years for £5.2 billion ($6.2 billion).
It is no stranger to betting scandals, however, and in 2013 franchises in Chennai and Rajasthan received two-year suspensions for their part in one.