Reports: Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association embroiled in selection controversy

Cricket Correspondent

Akram Saifi (left) is believed to be the chief culprit (Image courtesy: Akram Saifi's Twitter handle)

In what could be the biggest controversy in Indian cricket since the spot-fixing scandal, News1 India reports that Akram Saifi, supposedly a former cricketer from Uttar Pradesh's city of Saharanpur and currently a 'Manager at BCCI / IPL (Indian Premier League)', as a website which goes by his name and has his pictures with some of the biggest names in Indian cricket suggests, takes favours from cricketers, both in cash and kind, to reserve their spot in the UP team of various age categories.

Akram Saifi's website which connects you to his 

Three cricketers (one of whom chose against revealing his identity) told the news channel that selectors of the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association have asked money for selection in the team as well.

"The selections should be made on the basis of trials. But throughout the trials, be it the first one, second or the third, the selectors pay the least of attention. The shortlisted names should be announced by 6 o'clock in the evening, however, they are not announced until 10 in the night.

"Cricketers, who come from ordinary backgrounds, have had to wait on railway stations for the announcement of the teams and have to go back empty-handed as they can't afford to give selectors cars and cash. Doesn't matter if you hit the stumps twice, thrice or more, only those players will be selected who have gifted the selectors a car, or cash," one of the three cricketers who didn't reveal his identity stated.

He went on to add that one of his friends has passed on various favours to the selectors for a spot in the team but did not name the cricketer in question.

Another cricketer, Bhupendra Singh told the news channel that the selectors asked for Rs. 2 lacs from him while Rahul Sharma, the cricketer who came up with screenshots of his messages with Saifi revealed that the latter had taken Rs. 5 lacs from him for the same. He added that Saifi, who is supposedly a close aide of IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, provides fake age certificates as well.