New Delhi: The shifting of IPL’s first leg to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was seen by many as making a pathway that led straight to an ‘alleged’ betting hub. But Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia begs to differ.
“Betting can happen anywhere in the world. Last year, there was controversy regarding betting even though the tournament was played in India. So, it doesn’t really matter that UAE would host the first leg of the IPL,” Wadia told MAIL TODAY. “Human beings are corruptible and some people will gamble on matches while some won’t. UAE isn’t the problem.”
UAE will be hosting 20 IPL matches — starting from April 16 — and Wadia feels that is a positive move.
“There is a positive going to UAE. Personally, I think 14 to 15 matches are too much for a fan, who go to the stadium. That a number of matches have been shifted to UAE will also mean that there will more public in stadiums for the remaining matches in India. Besides, there are a lot of Indians and Pakistanis in UAE, so support won’t be an issue,” he said.
Wadia’s Kings XI Punjab have assorted some of the best T20 players this season and George Bailey — the captain — is aware of the potential that his team has got.
“It is a balanced side. We have got many match-winners in our team. Having the likes of Virender Sehwag and Mitchell Johnson would make our opponents fear us. Leading a team like this is awesome. In my last stint with Chennai Super Kings, there were many players from whom I have learnt a lot about captaincy — like (MS) Dhoni and Michael Hussey,” Bailey said.
Bailey added that he expects Sehwag to play the role of mentor for the young players. “He is someone who youngsters should look up to. I am eager to meet him. Having so much experience and talent makes him a special player. Also Mitch (Johnson) is special. I want to him take as many wickets as possible,” he said.
“Everybody should contribute for the cause of the team. People from different cultures and different countries would come together for two months and play together. I think it will be a fruitful experience for everyone.”