Whalley Cricket Club’s oversea amateur Hiken Shah says his “world fell apart” after learning of the BCCI’s decision to suspend him on Monday for making a corrupt approach to former teammate Pravin Tambe.
The Mumbai batsman’s stay at Station Road, where he accumulated 924 runs - which included a high score of 129 in the Ramsbottom Cup quarter-final loss to Settle last month - and 20 wickets, has been cut short as the board found him guilty of breaching Articles 2.1.1; 2.1.2 and 2.1.4 of the BCCI Anti-Corruption Code for participants.
When recalling the sequence of events in his meeting with the Rajasthan Royals veteran ahead of the eighth edition of the IPL in April, Shah told the Times of India: “I had met Tambe sometime in March at the Oberoi Mall in Goregaon.
“The meeting lasted no more than 10 minutes. We spoke about the (then) upcoming IPL, and his general stuff.
“Since I was looking to make money on the sly, I wanted to speak to him about the possibility of facilitating admissions at the DY Patil Institute in Navi Mumbai.
“Since the parents have so much (sic) for ‘donations’ these days, a couple of my friends approached me if I could get their child admitted (in an engineering or medical college at DY Patil).
“I thought that both of us could make some money this way, since Tambe plays and works for DY Patil.”
Shah, the second Mumbai cricketer to be found guilty of being involved in corrupt activities, following Ankeet Chavan who was banned for life for his role in spot-fixing in the 2013 scandal, went on: “I asked without mentioning the word ‘admission’.
“He replied, ‘I don’t want to make money through these means, and I’m not interested.’
“After getting this kind of a response, I decided to not broach the topic further and left.
“I had no clue he would mistake the word ‘fixing’ for match-fixing. It’s a huge misunderstanding. I have never met a bookie, nor have I bet in my life.”
Shah continued to explain how he aided the BCCI’s line of inquiry and added: “I was assured by the ACU that if I was clean, I would emerge unscathed.
“Before leaving for England, I sought the ACU’s permission, which was granted, and said they were free to contact me at any stage. Today, my world fell apart.”
Shah also told ESPNcricinfo: “I am innocent. I have not done anything wrong. I am innocent and I will fight to prove it.”