'Cricket's biggest chance to clean itself' - Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid, the India batsman, has called the ICC's move to hand out first-ever suspensions to three Pakistan cricketers for "irregular behaviour" under the Anti-Corruption Code a positive step but wanted the inquiry against the trio to be taken to its "logical conclusion". The spot fixing controversy, Dravid told ESPNcricinfo, "is cricket's biggest chance to clean itself".
"The last thing we need is for the events of this week to be swept under the carpet. No guilt must be attached until the investigations are complete, and everyone deserves a fair chance to defend themselves. But the process must be thorough and comprehensive."
Dravid said that he wanted the investigation of the anti-corruption unit to be completed before the matter moved on to, "a proper inquiry carried out by investigators with the law of the land behind them." He said the most necessary outcome of the entire episode, "which has been a horrible scar on cricket, cricketers and fans," would be "swift and strong punishment to anyone found guilty."
In the past, Dravid said, "people once judged guilty turned up after a few months just because time had passed. It was as if everyone had forgotten what days like these feel like for the majority of honest players in the game".
Dravid recommended a complete inquiry with adequate penalties, since it would send out the right message - "that the consequences of getting in contact with the businesses of illegal betting and fraud are extremely severe, whether it is life bans or extended bans on any future livelihood in cricket."
Dravid said he was not fond of the security measures currently in place but every player had to accept it. "No one wants to be under watch all the time - I hate that there are cops and security on our floor in every hotel the team lives in, but that is what the game requires, that is what we must live with."
The ICC's anti-corruption code is not, he said, merely about "the right rules being laid down but also ensuring that people who break those rules pay the penalties and face the consequences".
Sharda Ugra is senior editor at Cricinfo