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Srinivasan has vowed to implement the harshest punishments if the trio are found guilty
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Narayanaswami Srinivasan has announced that the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) image is still as clean as ever, despite the recent match-fixing scandal that sent shock waves across the global cricket community.
Three Rajasthan Royals players – Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila and Sreesanth, who has represented India in the past – were all arrested and are under investigation for engaging in illegal activities.
“I don’t know about others, but I was shocked,” Srinivasan said. “It was a bolt from the blue. The BCCI is shocked that this has happened because we never expected this.
“Here as you see the people involved are Ranji Trophy players and one of them is a Test player. That is what is shocking.”
Srinivasan assured the public that the BCCI would implement the strictest punishments if the trio are found guilty of match-fixing.
“We will do whatever is necessary,” he said. “The sport is clean and we are running it clean. We have taken all the steps (to keep it clean). One or two bad eggs here and there cannot sully the entire game.
“We have taken a lot of time and energy to educate the players and have set up our own anti-corruption unit to keep the game clean. We will not hesitate to take the strictest action against anybody who is found indulging in such corrupt practices.
“The governing council of IPL has already taken a decision to suspend these three players. We are saddened because last year there was an incident and the BCCI acted swiftly and strictly.”
With many cricketers being handsomely rewarded for their services in the IPL, Srinivasan pointed out that there were still a few bad apples who would look to make more money simply as a result of pure greed.
“Indian players are paid extremely well paid,” he said. “I don’t think it is a case of players not having enough money. You can call it greed and not a question of inadequate compensation.”
This is the second time there have been arrests for players being involved in match-fixing during the IPL, as last season, five players were banned for different lengths of time after being found guilty.
“We thought when we made an example last year (by banning five domestic cricketers involved in spot-fixing), we thought the message was clear and people would not do anything like this,” Srinivasan said. “We have involved the ICC’s Anti corruption unit. We have our own anti corruption unit and cannot take a broad brush and tarnish everyone.
“We will not lose faith. The efforts that we are taking. particularly the action that we are taking against these players, would be sufficient deterrent for anybody to try and do it in the future. We will take whatever steps are necessary to convince people to understand that this is a very serious matter and can get them into a lot of trouble. We will examine all possible approaches to this problem.”
The BCCI president was also quick to brush aside speculation that the IPL was in danger of losing its sponsorship and reputation.
“There is a lot of work for us to do,” he admitted. “We will not leave any stone unturned. But I do not subscribe (to the view) that IPL is untenable.
“As far as these three players are concerned and keeping in mind natural justice has to be preserved, we will take action as per our rules and our own disciplinary procedures.
“We, as BCCI, need to examine the scene objectively, what else we can do and demonstrate that this kind of action does not pay.”
As of right now, Srinivasan has not received word of any other players being involved in the match-fixing scandal.
“As far as the comment about other cricketers, we have no information from the police,” he said. “I hope nobody else is involved. If the information comes to the attention of BCCI we will of course act immediately.”
In a move that could be seen as an attempt to protect himself, Srinivasan was also quick to point out that the BCCI had acted immediately after receiving the information from the police.
“We acted the moment we got the information that Delhi police had arrested them and an FIR has been filed,” the BCCI president said. “The mere fact that the players have been arrested and booked under certain sections was sufficient for the BCCI to act immediately.”