FILE PHOTO: Rahul Dravid (L) and S Sreesanth during an event, at a hotel, in Kolkata. HT photo/Prateek Choudhury
Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid was "shocked" and "distressed" after three of his players, including pacer S Sreesanth, were arrested for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing in the ongoing T20 league series.
"I am shocked, disappointed and distressed by the events that have resulted in the arrests last night and this morning," Dravid said in Hyderabad on Thursday on the eve of their match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
"Rajasthan Royals is a special team, where we have always operated like a family, so this is particularly devastating."
A special cell of the Delhi police arrested Sreesanth and his teammates -- Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan -- along with seven bookies last night after their team's match against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
The cricketers and bookies have been charged under sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and are being flown in to Delhi for further questioning.
Insisting that the BCCI and Rajasthan Royals team management have zero tolerance towards corruption in the game, Dravid hoped the Jaipur-outfit would come out stronger in this time of adversity.
"Spot fixing and corruption have hung over the game of cricket, and I know that the BCCI and RR (Rajasthan Royals) take the same zero tolerance view of the situation. The RR owners and management have made their zero tolerance views clear on every possible occasion, and I am sure that they will support any action taken.
"For me, as a captain and leader, I have to focus on ensuring that the team fulfill their enormous potential and continue to play in the 'Rajasthan Royals' way. Our players are devastated that our performances may have been affected, as they have a desire to win that has been evident throughout the tournament," he said.
"I hope that our fans get behind us even more, and that we become stronger as a unit, which often happens in times of adversity," Dravid added.
Rajasthan Royals coach Paddy Upton too agreed with Dravid's views and said the team management will do whatever it can to help the concerned authorities in dealing with the menace.
"Today has seen an unfurling of events that have left us all shocked and disappointed, and we will support the franchise, the BCCI and the authorities in taking necessary actions to root out an evil that plagues our game," he said.
"However, we will not let the team lose its focus on completing what has been a magnificent tournament. We cannot let 'bad eggs' ruin the game that we all love, affect the values that RR holds dear, and destroy an environment that we have worked hard to take to a new level," Upton said.
Reacting to the developments, Rajasthan Royals issued a statement, supporting the BCCI's decision to suspend the tainted trio with immediate effect and intiating an inquiry.
"We fully support the statements issued by the BCCI President earlier this afternoon. We must all have zero-tolerance to match-fixing and corruption. Should these allegations be proven, we will support the strongest of actions. We are supporting the BCCI and the authorities fully and we will continue to do so," it read.