How deeply is match fixing affecting cricket's credibility?
Certain amount of reverence, respect and love for cricketers can diminish, says Rahul Dravid while Sanjay Manjrekar reckons fans are unconditional in support
Former India captain and batting stalwart Rahul Dravid has come out to say that credibility of the sport and establishment is king while talking about the mess surrounding Indian cricket.
“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,” Dravid told ESPN Cricinfo.
“Things like this (spot fixing) don’t help, when we are on the front pages of the newspapers and not on the back. 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 added.
Sanjay Manjrekar agreed with Dravid in another discussion on the credibility front, but stated: “Let’s not forget India is a very strange country when it comes to cricket and the fans. They follow Indian cricket and – I’ve said this on public platforms - they follow Indian cricket unconditionally.
“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.”
The BIG difference
ESPNCricinfo editor-in-chief Sambit Bal hit a boundary as it were when it came to pointing out to the difference in action for players and teams. Bal said: “When the police accused the players, the action was decisive. The players were suspended immediately. No questions asked.
Nobody said, ‘We will do our own investigations.’ They appointed a committee, but they took clear and immediate action. But when it came to the team owners — and I’m going to say that Raj Kundra and Rajasthan Royals were fortunate that Chennai Super Kings were also involved in this — then you saw a different kind of response. They said we will inquire into this, and they have given them a clean chit, (after) an internal inquiry.”
And what is Manjrekar’s view on BCCI biggie N Srinivasan? “Okay, this is what I have to say about Mr Srinivasan. You know there are lots of things to like about him as an administrator. The first thing is he is an administrator who came from the grassroots. He is not one of those administrators who develop a sudden interest in cricket and want to take the top job in cricket administration.
“He had his own company team, and the stories that I’ve heard is that he would have one of his men sitting there during the club matches and keep him posted on what his team’s score was. He was a man who was very interested in his company team, at the club level, so a man genuinely fond of the game.
“It took him a long time to climb the ladder, and I’m told he was reluctant to get into the state administration of cricket, but that happened in due course. So he’s a guy who has grown through the system, which is excellent.
But I think what has happened in the last few months has become more of a personal thing with the president of the BCCI, and the question he needs to ask himself is: the position that he’s taken in the last few months, is it helping the image of Indian cricket? Is it good for Indian cricket? And we know what the answer to that is.”