All-time cricket great takes a stand against illegal activity in the game.
Batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar called cricket’s betting and spot-fixing scandal “shocking and disappointing”, becoming India’s first big-name player to speak out on the issue.
“The developments in the last two weeks have been shocking and disappointing,” Tendulkar, the world’s leading scorer in both Test and one-day cricket, said.
“It has always hurt me when the game of cricket is in the news for the wrong reasons.
“As cricketers we are always taught to go out, fight hard, give our very best and play in the true spirit of the game.”
Indian cricket has been in turmoil after police arrested three players, including Test paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, accusing them of deliberately bowling badly in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars during the just-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL).
N. Srinivasan, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, is also under pressure to quit after his son-in-law was arrested for allegedly betting on IPL matches.
Betting on sports other than horse-racing is a crime in India. Spot-fixing is an illegal activity in which a specific part of a game, but not the result, is fixed.
“During this difficult phase, I join every cricketer, from the boys and girls in the maidans (grounds) across the country to those who represent clubs, states and the country, who trust the authorities to take sincere steps to get to the root of the issue,” Tendulkar said.
“The faith reposed by the millions of fans should be justified and we owe it to them to ensure that Indian cricket is all about pride and joy.”
Tendulkar, who figured in all six editions of the IPL, announced his retirement from the Twenty20 tournament after his team won the title on Sunday.
His comments come after India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni declined during several press conferences this week to comment on the ongoing corruption probe.
Speaking ahead of India’s bid for the Champions Trophy, Dhoni promised to reveal his views on the scandal at the “right time”.
Tendulkar has scored 15,837 runs in 198 Tests with 51 centuries and 18,426 runs in 463 one-day internationals with 49 hundreds.
The master batsman, who quit one-dayers last year, has played just one T20 international for India, against South Africa at Johannesburg in December 2006.