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'The anti-corruption unit has an almost impossible job'

By Manu Shankar
Last updated on: July 16, 2015 07:00 IST
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Former Essex player Ian Pont, who is now engaged in coaching Indian bowlers at the Ultimate Pace Foundation in Bengaluru, tells Manu Shankar/Rediff.com you can never ensure that the spot-fixing episode won't resurface. 'All you can do is deal with it correctly when it happens.' 

Ian Pont speaks with aspiring fast bowlers at the Ultimate Pace Foundation camp in Bengaluru.

The Supreme Court-appointed three-member Justice Lodha panel which handed down punishments in the Indian Premier League spot-fixing episode on Tuesday ruffled a few feathers by suspending Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years from the cash-rich Twenty20 event. 

- Full text of the Justice Lodha IPL verdict

- Key points of the Justice Lodha verdict

- Meiyappan, Kundra banned for life; CSK, RR for 2 yrs 

While question marks are being raised over the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s anti-corruption unit’s inability to prevent such malpractices, former Essex player Ian Pont, who is now engaged in coaching Indian bowlers at the Ultimate Pace Foundation in Bengaluru, sympathizes with the unit. 

“The anti-corruption unit has an almost impossible job. That’s because unless they get to know about fixing matches ahead of the event, how can they discover it?” says Pont.

Justice RM Lodha (centre) signs the verdict. 

He believes it is imperative that players, officials and coaches inform their respective boards of any wrongdoing. 

“There is a duty for players, coaches and officials to report any such activities or attempt. The game is in the hands of those who play and run the game,” he adds.

- 'BCCI cover up failed only because the courts intervened'

- I have washed my hands off cricket in India: Kundra

Along with Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, key officials of both franchises, Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, were banned from all cricket-related activity of the BCCI for their involvement in betting during the sixth season of the IPL in 2013. 

Asked what he thought of the verdict, Pont was of the view that the panel is the best judge of the quantum of justice. 

“We have already had some Rajasthan Royals players banned for involvement in fixing. There are guidelines and rules over this. You can never ensure spot-fixing never happens again; all you can do is deal with it correctly when it happens,” said the 53-year-old.

Narayanswami Srinivasan with Gurunath Meiyappan. Photograph: PTI

Shantakumaran Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were banned for life for their alleged role in the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the event in 2013.

Amit Singh, another guilty party, was banned for five years from playing any representative cricket, or in any way being associated with the activities of the BCCI or its affiliates, while Rajasthan Royals pacer Siddarth Trivedi was banned for a year after being found guilty of failing to report approaches by bookies. 

Asked whether former BCCI chief Narayanswami Srinivasan should withdraw as the country’s representative in ICC following the Lodha panel’s verdict, Pont replied:  “I am guessing he will definitely not. Should, would, could, will and might are five different questions.”

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