Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bookies rule out India, bet on SA

NEW DELHI: Local bookies seem to be counting onSouth Africa to lift the cricket World Cup even though India has been heavily tipped to beat Australia in the quarterfinals on Thursday. This is in stark contrast to what is being projected by international agencies like William Hill who are banking on India as the most likely country to win the Cup. India's slip from the top (it had started as favourites at the start of the tournament) came after its unimpressive show - both in batting and bowling - against South Africa, England and even the West Indies, which India finally managed to beat. 

According to bookies, South Africa are strong favourites with the odds staked at 3.75:1 for a win. This is comparable to the international odds that have been pegged at 10:3. Though the English bookies have kept India as the most probable country to lift the Cup, local bookies have given India the second spot at 3.80:1. Given its number one rank in ODIs, Australia has managed the fourth spot at 5.65:1. India's neighbour Sri Lanka(5.40) is ahead of Australia. South Africa, often dubbed as the greatest chokers of the game, was initially in the fourth spot before clinching the number one spot now. Bookies though are banking on the hosts to prevail over the Kangaroos at Ahmedabad with an offer of Rs 75/79 for Rs 100 for an India win and Rs 78/81 on Rs 100 for an Australian win. The real rates, though, will open only on the day of the game. 

"The fact remains that Sri Lanka too will play at home. With several all-rounders in both the Indian and South African teams, we believe the likes of Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Ajantha Mendis and even Virendra Sehwag will play a major role. However, this is a long tournament and there are always chances of players getting injured. These rates will certainly change once the quarterfinals are over," said a bookie. The rear end is brought up by Pakistan (6.35), England (11.50) and New Zealand (26) after West Indies was knocked out on Wednesday. 

The Delhi police, though, seem reluctant to act against Delhi-based bookies this time round. Most bookies are expected to operate from different areas of central and northwest Delhi. "We nabbed some bookies during the last FIFA football World Cup. But till date, no one has been prosecuted. Many of them, wanted in cases dating back to the last cricket World Cup, have escaped after paying petty fines. You can only stop them temporarily, but the industry - worth crores - manages to bounce back," said a senior district officer on condition of anonymity. 

, a bookie told TOI that with "heightened" police action still likely, since the tournament has reached the quarterfinal stages, they will be "rotating" their hideouts across the city. "We will be entertaining bets only through proven references so that our business is not affected," said the bookie.

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