Aakash Chopra, the former India batsman, has said any player found guilty of spot-fixing should have his records expunged completely, an idea that is believed to have been raised at Sunday’s BCCI working committee meeting in Chennai where it received a favourable response.
Chopra added such punishment should have been meted out in 2000. “It will probably be done now. Thats what I’ve been reading that if players are found guilty their records will be erased completely, as if they’ve never played cricket,” Chopra said.
When asked if dismissing a player’s records on the basis of their actions in one tournament is justified, Chopra said, “What we get to know is what has been probed and proved. So if somebody has cheated once, I would err on the other side and say he has been a cheat all his life. And if he is not a cheat, I need to set a precedent because even if it was for one time, he has cheated the country, the fans and the game.”
“When you see players who’ve been found guilty and handed life bans or five-year bans coming back to mainstream cricket as television pundits or coaches or politicians, it seems like legitimacy lasts only for a few years and that’s wrong. India is very forgiving about corruption but hopefully with stronger punishment people will be deterred from participating in such acts.”
The IPL runs a programme that focuses on educating the players to deter them from corruption, but Chopra said the same facilities should be made available at all levels of domestic cricket.
“Not too long ago I was playing for a Ranji trophy side and a promising young crickter came up to me and said he was offered one crore as a minimum guarantee by an agent. That didn’t sound right. I told him you’re not playing for India, you haven’t played a single game in the IPL and somebody’s offering you one crore? I dont buy it. Dont talk to that person again. Its not the right kind of money that you deserve.
“He didn’t speak to him, but there are young players being approached every day. They are not used to the glamour, the money or the fame and there are characters who are always there waiting for the opportune time to pounce on their prey, so its a difficult world out there. And you’re also interacting with people on social media and these are just names, no faces. Even the names might not be correct so that educational programme has to be there throughout the year and not just for the IPL”
Chopra also advocated measures to educate the players of what awaits them if they indulged in fixing a cricket match. “If the person agrees, talk about sharing cells with hardcore criminals, making do with unclean lavatories, starving oneself so that you won’t have to use those lavatories – this is something the players need to know because that is what awaits them if they are found guilty.”