Bangalore: Former Indian cricketer and Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid, has called for fixing to be made a criminal offence, adding that it would be the only way wrongdoers would realize the consequences of their actions.
In an interview to ESPNcricinfo, Dravid looked back at the spot-fixing episode involving three of his teammates from the Rajasthan Royals.
“Yes, towards the end of the IPL, it was a difficult period. Difficult personally and from a team perspective as well. It is not really one emotion. You go between anger, sadness, disappointment, you feel bad. It was a good IPL, the standard of cricket was good. So for that to happen was really disappointing from everyone's point of view”, Dravid said.
When asked if he felt betrayed by the tainted players, he said that it was not only him, but an entire team that was let down.
“Look. It’s not just about me. I may be the face of the team, and probably the most high-profile player in that team, there are a lot of people in the team and a lot of people who have done work behind the scenes, not just to get the team together but to set up the whole team, set up the franchise. A lot of people work behind the scenes to make the IPL the success that it was. But it's not only about me, a lot of people felt let down”, he is quoted as saying.
Dravid emphasized that the fixing had to be made a criminal offence, citing the example of the doping in cycling.
“People must see that there are consequences to your actions. That will create fear for people. For example, look back on the doping in cycling. The only guys they were scared of was the police and going to jail. It (fixing) has got to be a criminal offence”. [Indian Penal Code does not recognise match-fixing and spot-fixing as offences]
He added that the administrators would have to work with the police to smoke the wrongdoers out of the game.
“In some ways it's only the police who can do that, because they are the only ones who have the power. For example, the only way you can prove this is if you secretly tape people, if you follow people. For security the cricket authorities already work in conjunction with the police. I mean the police are at our grounds, they manage security for us. So the next step is administrators need to work with the police to manage these issues as well, as they are the only ones who have that authority to be able to do this”.
When asked if there was any kind of counselling, that took place during the team meetings, about the dangers of fixing, Dravid said that there was anti-corruption training before every tournament.
“We have anti-corruption training before every tournament, before every IPL, before every international series or at least once or twice a year. In fact I don't think there's anybody in an IPL team who has not received that training from the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, and they do a particular job of it. That training module that the ACSU shows and the ACSU officers who come and give that training are actually really good, that's a pretty good module. I don't think any player can honestly say that he didn't know”.
Dravid went on to add that if he couldn’t judge/doubt everything that happened on the cricket field, saying that it would take away the joy of the game. When asked about the credibility of cricket administrators, the 40-year old was careful with his answer.
“Administrators are there because of the fans and the cricketers, to run this game. So I think that credibility of a game in the eyes of the public is extremely important. want to get into the specifics of it, it's not fair and I'd like to believe that there are good administrators as well, people who have done a lot for the game - the game has grown in this country and you can't argue with that. Across the world as well, not only in India. But like good and bad cricketers, I guess there are good and bad administrators”.