Man associated with Endeavor Hills Cricket Club charged over allegedly defrauding $250,000 to sign cricket stars

Endeavor Hills made headlines by signing Chris Gayle and other stars. A man linked with the club has been charged by the police, writes PAUL AMY.

A man charged with the alleged defrauding of $250,000 is connected to the Victorian cricket club that recruited a string of international cricketers, including Chris Gayle, this season.

Detectives from the Monash Crime Investigation Unit charged a 35-year-old Doncaster man following alleged theft and deception from a Mulgrave company.

The man is associated with Sub-District club Endeavor Hills.

It is alleged that the funds were taken between March 2021 and July 2022.

Police said the money was allegedly put into the man’s business, “which sourced and paid for ten high-profile international cricket players to participate in local district cricket competitions in Melbourne’s southeast”.

The man has been charged with 18 counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and one count of knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime.

He has been bailed to appear before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 29 November.

There is no suggestion that money went missing from Endeavor Hills or that the club or any of its cricketers engaged in any wrongdoing.

Amid great publicity, Endeavor Hills signed a string of international players for the 2022-23 season.

The Eagles intended to field them in the Sub-District Twenty20 competition, only to discover competition rules stipulated no team could have more than one “marquee” player.

They decided to stage two exhibition matches instead.

Cricket Victoria denied the Hills use of the Junction Oval, but they secured Shepley Oval, the home of Victorian Premier Cricket club Dandenong.

The first T20 match is set down at Shepley on Sunday afternoon.

Gayle was scheduled to arrive in Melbourne at 6.55am today.

About 1,000 tickets have been sold for the event.

English batter Dawid Malan was also promoted as a signing but he pulled out of the series this week, instead linking with a T10 league in Abu Dhabi.

It’s believed the club was yesterday trying to lock in his England teammate, Sam Billings, as a replacement.

Endeavor Hills confirmed Gayle, Sri Lankan Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne and teammate Lahiru Thirimanne, former Sri Lankan star Tillakaratne Dilshan, Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik and English County player Luke Procter would play on Sunday, against Queensland club Western Suburbs.

In the second match, on December 4, Endeavor Hills is scheduled to meet the “GI Strikers”, a team made up mainly of Victorian Premier players.

The Hills have announced the winning side from game two will receive $10,000 courtesy of a sponsor, Greska Homes.

Endeavor Hills said it was hoping for a crowd of at least 2,000 for Sunday’s game.

There would be several food trucks, a beer garden and live performances from well-known Australian musician DJ Havana Brown.

“It’s a lot of planning – all of this started seven, eight months ago, negotiating and getting the contracts in place. The last four months have been absolutely full-on in regards to getting the event organized,” club president Arunj Rajendran told Leader on Thursday.

“It’s a family event, everything from kids’ face painting all the way through to haircuts on the ground – we’ve got a barber organized – and we’ve gone to every extent.”

Dilshan is captain of the club’s VSDCA ​​team, which also features Thirimanne and former Indian first-class player Akshay Ballal.

Karunaratne is playing in the first few rounds – he hit a century on debut for the club – and is due to be replaced by former West Indies paceman Fidel Edwards when he resumes his international duties.

Rajendran told CODE Sports this afternoon that he expected Sunday’s match to go ahead.

Paul Amy is a sports reporter and editor for Leader Newspapers. He was also a long-time contributor to Inside Football and is the author of Fabulous Fred, the Strife and Times of Fred Cook.

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