Once underworld don Dawood Ibrahim stormed into the Indian cricket team dressing room in Sharjah in 1987 and offered Toyota cars to team members if they win the quadrennial Austral-Asia Cup, involving Australia, England and Pakistan. But, captain Kapil Dev, who entered the dressing later ‘ordered’ Dawood Ibrahim to leave the dressing room.
The incident was under the carpet for 26 years until former BCCI secretary Jayant Lele and former crickter Dilip Vengsarkar revealed it. So, after the revelation fingers were raised against Kapil for keeping it secret for so many years.
Notorious Dawood was known for match fixing through his ‘D Company’. He was seen in the stands during the matches of the tournament with wealthy sheikh of Dubai. But the stunning revelation of Vengsarkar has taken everybody by surprise.
“Yes, I remember a gentleman walking into our dressing room in a game in Sharjah and wanting to talk to the players,” underpressure Kapil Dev told Indian media.
“But I asked him to leave the dressing room immediately as outsiders were not allowed. He listened to me and then walked out of the dressing room without saying anything. Later, someone told me he was a smuggler from Bombay and his name was Dawood Ibrahim. Beyond that nothing happened,” he said.
However, Kapil Dev said he wasn’t aware of Toyota cars being offered to the players. “No such offer came to my knowledge then. If Dilip is saying it now, he would more than me.”
Kapil Dev said he wasn’t aware of Toyota cars being offered to the players. “No such offer came to my knowledge then. If Dilip is saying it now, he would know more than me.”
While revealing, Vengsarkar said, “Dawood had said: ‘If you guys win the tournament, I will give all of you a Toyota car each. The offer was rejected by the team,” Vengsarkar had said it in a function in Jalgaon.
To make Vengsarkar’s claim stronger BCCI secretary Jayant Lele had also pointed the incident in his book, ‘I was There-Memoirs of a Cricket Administrator’.
Lele had dedicated one chapter on Toyota car offer: “If the Indian team becomes a champion here, I shall present a Toyota car to each team member, including officials, at their doorsteps in India.” Dawood had offered Lele and manager Dyaneshwar Agashe when they were on the way to meet with a wealthy industrialist in Sharjah.
“As bad luck would have it, India lost the tournament. Australia were declared champions on the basis of a higher run rate, as Australia, England and India earned equal points! After the results were declared most team members were not in tears, but that man was!” wrote Lele.
“After a long gap, we came to know that the man who met us in Sharjah in 1987 was Dawood Ibrahim, the alleged mastermind of the dastardly Mumbai blasts in 1993,” Lele wrote.
“The matter of that contact with us somehow surfaced during police investigations and I was taken aback. When the police interrogated me, I trembled. However, I frankly and matter-of-fact admitted we met, and told them at that time we had naturally no idea about his background or future activities, and did not even know his name. I added that I had met the man there for the first and last time and I had even forgotten the incident. I could not have recognised him thereafter! The police, fortunately, believed me.”
Sharjah was banned by the Indian government in 2001 for being prone to match fixing. Since 1990 Sharjah lost its charm as a cricket venue as match fixing scandals broke out. So many teams denied playing there.
Watch the video here: