Former swashbuckling batsman Virender Sehwag said today it was up to the individual players to keep away from activities such as betting and spot-fixing after the scourge resurfaced during the ongoing Indian Premier League yesterday. The dark underbelly of IPL was exposed again after three people, including an insider with pitch access, were arrested at Kanpur for allegedly running a betting racket during Wednesday’s IPL match between Delhi Daredevils and Gujarat Lions. “You can’t stop all these things. It’s the player’s responsibility whom he wants to meet. It’s my wish whom I want to meet. If my conscience is clear then I can help keep the game clean too,” Sehwag said here when queried on the subject.
“You can keep enormous security, but they can’t stop anything if the player wants to do something (unlawful). It’s the player’s own responsibility to ensure that no one questions your integrity,” said the one-time dashing batsman at a meet and greet session organised by 92.7 BIG FM. “If anyone makes any comments about me (allegations about betting), then during my playing days I would have said I will retire. Now (if someone makes allegations) I would say wipe off all my records. If players take such type of responsibility (stand), then these guys (bookies) won’t approach you,” said Sehwag.
The three arrested people in Kanpur included a person who worked as a sub-contractor in IPL who had bragged to the bookie that his access to Green Park groundsmen will help him tamper with the pitch, according to the police.
Sehwag said it has been his policy not to give access to any unknown persons.
“I don’t remember meeting anyone unknown in the hotels because it’s my choice. If my friend comes to meet me, then I ensure that the friend comes and his friend doesn’t come along. (Similarly) if someone related to me comes to meet me, I ask him not to bring along anyone else. It’s all about player’s awareness,” he explained.
“This game is such that it will give you a lot, but if your image is tarnished then you also lose the respect. People love cricket in this country. But if someone does bad with this game, they sideline them and keep talking bad about him, which no player wants to hear,” he added.