Cricket : Thami Tsolekile & Lonwabo Tsotsobe under investigation for match fixing
South African fast bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Thami Tsolekile are the latest players to be accused of involvement in match fixing.
“There’s a lot of speculation going around. I’m not going to entertain anything, but Cricket South Africa (CSA) can do anything they need to do to check if we did any match-fixing with the people that they are investigating,” Tsotsobe said in an interview with Wisden India.
“I’ve given them everything they want: my phone bills, my messages, my bank accounts, everything. They said they would get back to me.”
The player also told the publication that he had not accepted any money from Gulum Bodi, who was implicated in the Ram Slam T20 match-fixing scandal in January along with Thami Tsolekile. Tsolekile allegedly received a R75 000 bribe. Ram Slam competition, ran from 1 November to 12 December, 2015.
Bodi admitted on 18 January that he was involved in match fixing and received a 20-year ban from cricket. “CSA thoroughly considered all the relevant factors and determined that a lengthy ban was appropriate.” CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat said in a statement in January.
“Our attitude to corruption will always be one of zero tolerance. There is no doubt that Mr Bodi’s actions have threatened the integrity and image of the game that we love and he must be handed a strong punishment. We have had many discussions with Mr Bodi and he accepts the folly of his actions.”
Tsotsobe says he has asked for time out. “I just feel that there’s a lot that’s going on in my life. I’ve spoken to the coach and he’s the one who gave me the time off. I don’t have to explain myself to any other person. If the CEO and the coach know, then I think I’m cool.”
The scandal has dealt the sport a blow and CSA has refused to confirm whether or not Tsotsobe is under investigation.
According to Cricket South Africa’s (CSA’s) anti-corruption code, Tsolekile faces a minimum five-year ban if found guilty of wrongdoing.
A spokesperson for CSA has also declined to comment while the investigation is ongoing.
Tsolekile’s alleged involvement follows hot on the heels of CSA’s confirmation last Thursday that former Proteas batsman Gulam Bodi is the “intermediary” who has been charged under its Anti-Corruption Code for contriving to fix, or otherwise improperly influence aspects of the 2015 Ram Slam T20.
The confirmation of Bodi’s guilt and Tsolekile’s alleged involvement may well be the tip of the iceberg, with at least one more former national player believed to be under investigation, while numerous domestic cricketers are facing charges of failing to report approaches.