New Delhi: "Pure greed", says Dean Jones. "This was to happen and will happen again," said 1983 World Cup-winning star Kirti Azad. The Indian Premier League spot-fixing allegations against three Rajasthan Royals players, including former Indian speedster Sreesanth, has put India to shame and betrayed fans, according to the cricket fraternity.
"How much (more) money does the cricketers want? Where does this money go, surely not in their banks," wondered Jones, who feels, spot-fixing may not influence the result of a match in a big way, but "changes the scorecard."
Meanwhile Shashi Tharoor said: "Sreesanth is a good player and prestige of Kerala. Whether guilty or not will emerge after the investigations."
Azad has been more scathing. Saying that the entire spot-fixing episode should be independently handled by the Delhi Police, the former Indian off-spinner and BJP Parliamentarian said: "This was waiting to happen and will happen again. Mere one-two year bans mean nothing. Ban the offenders for life," Azad said.
Match-fixing is nothing new to IPL. The cash-rich tournament has always been under the scanner and Azad reveals, the International Cricket Council had in May warned the BCCI and the IPL organizing committee to be careful about certain people in Delhi who are "known fixers."
"But neither the BCCI nor the Delhi District Cricket Association had taken strong notice. The person against whom the ICC raised a finger was given an All Area Pass and had free access to players and dressing room," Azad said.
Azad also blamed the DDCA for not checking the fixing menace. "Ninety per cent of the fixing cases happen from Delhi. Even in 1999 during the Hansie Cronje case, Delhi was in focus. I am not sure what precautions the BCCI or the DDCA have taken," he said.
Former Indian wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani also suggested that "stringent" measures should be taken against the guilty. "A minimum of 12 years behind bar should be given. Till some players get this punishment, this cheating will continue," said Kirmani.