While the all-powerful working committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) meets today in Chennai to discuss the future course of action against India pacer S Sreesanth and his other two Rajasthan Royals teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, who are accused of spot fixing by Delhi Police in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the board’s former secretary Jaywant Lele said committee members should press for a life ban on the trio.
Although the BCCI has suspended the three cricketers since their arrest on Thursday, it remains to be seen whether immediate punishments are handed out to them as an inquiry report is still awaited. The BCCI has said stringent action will be taken against these cricketers if found guilty.
Lele reckoned the Board should not waste any time in banning the three players. “They should be banned for life. That is the strongest possible message the Board can send out to all players,” Lele told SUNDAY MiD DAY from Baroda.
“There will be a few bad people in every walk of life. But that does not mean that everyone is bad. Cricket is not bad because of these few cricketers. So, it is only wise to remove them… ban them from playing any kind of cricket,” added Lele, who was the BCCI’s secretary when India was first rocked by the massive match fixing scandal in 2000. When asked whether the BCCI can enforce the ban even as an inquiry report is pending, Lele said: “Yes, of course the Board has all powers to ban them. That should be the policy. Even if a cricketer’s name crops up in a fixing-related incident, he should be banned for life. Whatever happens to their fate on the legal front, their ban on cricket will continue.”
The Delhi Police charged the three cricketers under section 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The BCCI also suspended first-class cricketer Amit Singh, who played in four IPL editions for Rajasthan Royals, allegedly a bookmaker now and was arrested along with 10 other bookies on Thursday.
Lele said the game’s anti-corruption unit should deploy their officers in the dressing rooms and team hotels. “If someone is constantly policing these players, then the fear will always be there. Players will know they are being watched. Match fixing may not happen now, but spot fixing is quite prevalent. So, it is better that an anti-corruption officer is in the dressing room and their hotels,” said Lele.