A fake version of the Indian Premier Cricket League created to cheat gamblers in Russia has been busted after police arrested the gang behind it.
The meticulous hoax saw fraudsters hire a field from a farmer in Gujarat and set up cameras to film the fake games.
According to reports, workers and local unemployed were hired to masquerade as players and create fake team names while the players wore official IPL kits.
The games were then streamed live on YouTube to unsuspecting betting operations in Russia.
The Times of India reported that to lend authenticity to the footage, a local resident who could well impersonate commentator Harsha Bhogle was roped in.
“Crowd noise sound effects downloaded from the Internet made the atmosphere real,” the newspaper reported.
Achal Tyagi, a top police official in Mehsana district, said four men were arrested in connection with the hoax.
“They had umpires with walkie-talkies umpiring like in the IPL and international cricket matches,” he said.
“The setup was good enough to trick unsuspecting people into believing it was a real cricket league.”
Mr Tyagi said the umpires told the players whether to score runs or get out based on instructions they received over walkie-talkies received from the organizers, who in turn received instructions from an accomplice in Russia on the Telegram app.
Betting on cricket is illegal in India and the four arrested have been charged with criminal conspiracy and gambling.
The IPL, the world’s richest T20 league, was embroiled in an illegal betting scandal in 2013, leading to a two-year suspension of its franchises in Chennai and Rajasthan.
The media-rights league of 10 teams for the next five years fetched the Indian cricket board £5.2 billion last month.