After ‘Cronjegate’ that happened more than a decade ago, it’s ‘Sreegate’ that has been on top-on-the-mind and in the hearts of cricket fans all over the world. The scandal has everything - from millions being laundered to high profile escorts to underworld links with the stink going right upto the door of the BCCI’s chief.
Found guilty of spot-fixing in the recently concluded IPL 6, S.Sreesanth along with two others, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan have ruined their careers for life.
But as cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle commented on Twitter, “For pure cricket lovers this is agony but society has all kinds.” This is the biggest embarrassment the Indian cricket has ever faced in its history. And can there be a justification enough to let off cricketers who play for money?
Metrolife spoke to a few cricketers on this boiling issue. Former India cricketer Kirti Azad bluntly compares the attitude of cricketers with that of film stars. “IPL is a big tamasha. It should not have been the sub-committee of BCCI at all and there is a conflict of interest also. BCCI wants to promote cricket and IPL is only about entertainment.
“Young and budding players are always vulnerable to material desires as their minds get diverted very quickly. The Punjab Cricket Board has done a perfect thing to not let their Under-19 cricketers play for IPL. This should be done by every state board in the country,” added Kirti.
Atul Wassan, another former Indian cricketer asks for better monitoring of the players. “The players are not afraid of anything anymore. There is no fear amongst them at all. The whole system needs to be cleaned.”
Isn’t the IPL ruining the ‘gentleman’s sport’? “IPL as a product has done good for many players. It has given money and platform to many budding cricketers and it has made the sport so popular that even a housewife in keen on cricket nowadays.”
Sunny Sohal, a current Ranji Trophy player who was also a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore this season (but not in the playing 11) gave his valuable comments. “This is a blot on Indian cricket. We are going the Pakistan way. Those who enter cricket to earn money and to party cannot play for the country. There are others who are satisfied with only playing in the IPL for the remuneration it brings in but cheating is definitely not acceptable.”
The Ranji player also revealed that two years back when he was with the Deccan Chargers, “I was indirectly offered to fix in a match during a party but I refused and complained to the franchise owner and to the anti-corruption unit too.”
Another Ranji player Siddharth Kaul too confessed, “If players like Sachin and Rahul sir can handle things (fame and money) anyone can. IPL is a great platform where one gets to play with international players and gets groomed for future. Things like fixing will only ruin them and their careers.”