Punishment not enough, BCCI needs a rehabilitation plan

  • Jasvinder Sidhu, Hindustan TImes, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 18, 2016 19:06 IST
BCCI President Shashank Manohar along with BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur interact with media after the AGM at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai. (HT Photo)

The BCCI disciplinary committee on Monday banned Rajasthan Royals off-spinner Ajit Chandila for life while barring Mumbai batsman Hiken Shah for five years for misconduct and corruption during the 2013 IPL fixing scandal. The verdict comes after the tainted players were given time to furnish a written response for the charges against them.

However, Chandila and Shah are but two names in a long list of offenders. And the way BCCI is handling the corruption cases, the list is bound to get longer. Looking at the earlier corruption related verdicts in cricket, punishment doesn’t help scale down the spot-fixing menace.

The BCCI, or any other board, can’t curb match-fixing without going into the details of how one gets lured by a fixer or corrupter.

Investigators and behaviour experts have devoted entire lives to try and understand the human mind and what circumstances tempt one to become a criminal. The practice in turn helps them to chart out a plan for not just rehabilitation but preventing future cases.

The world’s richest cricket board can perhaps have a look at the Pakistan Cricket Board, which has worked hard on the rehabilitation of young pacer Mohammad Amir. Amir, jailed in 2011’s ‘cash for no ball’ scandal as a 19-year-old along with seniors Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, recently played his first match against New Zealand since returning from the ban.

The socio-economic background plays a part. The three convicted Pakistani players — much like Chandila — represent the lower-middle class which, after the taste of big money and the glitz, may find it difficult to go back.

Lavish T20 cricket leagues all around the world have also created an imbalance. The fact that a young, untested player can earn as much as a top player may leave the latter feeling cheated.

Justice RM Lodha committee report touched on this aspect of the problem. Lodha report says huge imbalance in IPL earnings create a situation of ‘heartburn’, with those playing for the national team sometimes tagged cheaper than the young players.

“The fact that IPL players, many with modest credentials, are richly remunerated by the Franchisees while those who don India colors and bring laurels to the nation are remunerated less is also a matter of heartburn,” reads Lodha committee.

There are many examples. Cheteshwar Pujara had played 27 Test matches when Kings XI Punjab paid R1.9 cr for him and later released him before 2015 IPL auction. In the same auction, Delhi team didn’t mind spending R2.6 cr rupees on an uncapped player, Shreyas Iyer.

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