There have been some incredible hoaxes throughout history: Michael Jordan being pronounced dead, a British woman giving birth to rabbits, the Moon landings. But this latest cricket hoax has us crease-ing (with laughter).
First reported by Reuters, a cricket league set up in western India has been the subject of a police investigation, after it was discovered to be completely fake and solicited big money bets from Russian gamblers.
The completely made-up cricket league – which ran for a sum total of two weeks – was masterminded by a group of farm labourers and unemployed kids, who dressed up and played as what appeared to be professional cricket players, in games that were streamed on YouTube and targeted at unsuspecting Russian gamblers.
The elaborate ruse seemed like the real deal, with games being played on a rural farm in the Molipur village of Mehsana district in the western state of Gujarat, according to News.com.au.
The Times of India adds the players even wore jerseys from genuine Indian Premier League cricket teams, including the Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans.
Here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for….— Jordan Elgott (@JElgott) July 11, 2022
Footage of the Fake IPL, which somehow conned people in Russia into betting on it.
‘Chennai Fighters’ off to a solid start, pitch looking in good condition. pic.twitter.com/XtaL5W5zli
Achal Tyagi, a top police official in the Mehsana district told Reuters, “They had umpires with walkie-talkie sets to officiate as they have in IPL and international cricket matches. The set-up was good enough to trick unsuspecting people into believing it was a genuine cricket league.”
It’s claimed the ‘umpires’ would use the walkie-talkies to send messages to the ‘players’, telling them what to do, such as when to hit the ball, how many runs to score, or to get themselves out. These messages came from other, higher powers based in Russia.
To further give off the impression the games being played were genuine, the YouTube stream even included sound effects imitating real-life crowds and commentators, which had the Russian gamblers bowled over enough to convince them to part with their cash. It’s claimed an estimated 300,000 rupees/AU $5,600/US $3,780 in bets had been placed on the matches.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the hoax cricket league, due to the fact betting on cricket is illegal in India, despite it being home to the world’s richest T20 league, IPL.