Former India swing bowler Balwinder Singh Sandhu reckons that the non-payment of dues from the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) is perhaps responsible for the latest Indian Premier League (IPL) controversy emerging from the sting operation conducted by India TV.
Four of the five players — Shalabh Srivastava, Mohnish Mishra, TP Sudhindra and Abhinav Bali — suspended by the Indian cricket board on Tuesday, are ex-ICL men. Sandhu, who was involved as coach of the Chandigarh Lions in the ICL, said: "The players are probably frustrated because they didn't get their dues from the ICL organisers. They may be feeling insecure," Sandhu told MiD DAY on Tuesday.
A few months ago, Sandhu accused a player of indulging in hanky-panky during the ICL. "Nowadays, people see all sorts of corrupt things happening. You open the newspaper and see not only politicians, but also businessmen involved in scams and getting away. This is where weak cricketers get their inspiration from," Sandhu felt.
The Mumbai stalwart felt that T20 cricket propels even average cricketers into stardom. "Some of the IPL players are getting [paid] more than what they deserve. They are getting more than what their skill warrant. T20 has made an average cricketer into a superstar," he said. Sandhu said the latest spot-fixing controversy must serve as an eye-opener for all. "This is a lesson for everyone. It's everyone's responsibility to make the IPL clean — the owners, coaches, players and support staff and everyone involved in the administration of the tournament. The system should be two steps ahead of corruption."
The 1983 World Cup-winning cricketer felt that greed was the root problem. "Weak characters succumb to lure. It boils down to your upbringing and attitude. You should be satisfied with whatever you get."
"We got Rs 2,10,000 for winning the 1983 World Cup, including the money from the concert by Lata Mangeshkar. Each player who won the 2011 World Cup must have earned nothing less than 10 crore. We were happy with whatever we got and we are happy for the younger generation," Sandhu added. He stressed that if players are found guilty, there should not be any sympathy towards them: "Keep educating players, keep making them responsible, and if they are guilty of fixing, they should be thrown out of cricket."