NEW DELHI: Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid on Monday expressed anguish over the recent IPL spot-fixing scandal and its fallout, saying that restoring the credibility of the game was of utmost importance failing which cricketers may lose respect of their fans.
BCCI has been faced with a serious credibility crisis ever since the spot-fixing and betting scandal broke out in the sixth edition of the IPL.
The whole issue led to N Srinivasan stepping aside as BCCI president and even the Bombay high court declared that the two-member panel, constituted to probe the scandal, was “illegal and unconstitutional”.
“Things like this don’t help, when we are on the front pages of the newspapers and not on the back,” Dravid told a cricket website.
“There are so many fans and so many people who care deeply about this game and it is because of these fans that we are who we are as cricketers. Administrators are there because of the fans and the cricketers to run this game, so credibility of a game, or a board, or even a government for that matter, is important irrespective of what you do. If you are in public life it is important,” he said.
BCCI president N Srinivasan got mired in the controversy when his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan faced betting charges along with Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra.
Three players from Rajasthan Royals, led by Dravid, were arrested on charges of spot-fixing and the former skipper said such episodes were not good for the image of the players.
“A certain amount of reverence, respect and love for cricketers can diminish, and I think it’s a really, really sad thing for cricket in this country if that had to happen,” Dravid said.
Another former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar said the administrators do not respond adequately to such crisis since they know that fans have never turned their back on the game, no matter what happens.
“When the match-fixing chapter was written in Indian cricket in 1999-2000, when some of the Indian stalwarts were banned, people thought Indian cricket had this severe jolt of credibility and it would all be downhill from then on.
“I remember there was an India-Zimbabwe series at home immediately after that particular event and every seat in the stadium was taken. So somewhere I think the administrators know that despite all this, the people will still follow this game passionately.
“…Somewhere the administrators feel that they can get away with this, and I think that doesn’t quite help in building enough pressure in the management of Indian cricket.”
Manjrekar though warned that new fans coming into the sport will be a lot more demanding on how Indian cricket functions.
“I think the Indian fans have loved cricket unconditionally but that is something the administrators or the BCCI cannot take for granted for too long,” he said.