IPL 2013 May 20, 2013

Expunge from records if found guilty - Chopra

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Aakash Chopra, the former India batsman, has said any player found guilty of spot-fixing should have his records expunged completely, an idea that is believed to have been raised at Sunday's BCCI working committee meeting in Chennai where it received a favourable response.

Speaking on ESPNcricinfo's daily programme, the Huddle, to discuss the latest spot-fixing scandal plaguing the IPL, Chopra added such punishment should have been meted out in 2000. "It will probably be done now. Thats what I've been reading that if players are found guilty their records will be erased completely, as if they've never played cricket," Chopra said.

When asked if dismissing a player's records on the basis of their actions in one tournament is justified, Chopra said, "What we get to know is what has been probed and proved. So if somebody has cheated once, I would err on the other side and say he has been a cheat all his life. And if he is not a cheat, I need to set a precedent because even if it was for one time, he has cheated the country, the fans and the game."

"When you see players who've been found guilty and handed life bans or five-year bans coming back to mainstream cricket as television pundits or coaches or politicians, it seems like legitimacy lasts only for a few years and that's wrong. India is very forgiving about corruption but hopefully with stronger punishment people will be deterred from participating in such acts."

The IPL runs a programme that focuses on educating the players to deter them from corruption, but Chopra said the same facilities should be made available at all levels of domestic cricket.

"Not too long ago I was playing for a Ranji trophy side and a promising young crickter came up to me and said he was offered one crore as a minimum guarantee by an agent. That didn't sound right. I told him you're not playing for India, you haven't played a single game in the IPL and somebody's offering you one crore? I dont buy it. Dont talk to that person again. Its not the right kind of money that you deserve.

"He didn't speak to him, but there are young players being approached every day. They are not used to the glamour, the money or the fame and there are characters who are always there waiting for the opportune time to pounce on their prey, so its a difficult world out there. And you're also interacting with people on social media and these are just names, no faces. Even the names might not be correct so that educational programme has to be there throughout the year and not just for the IPL"

Chopra also advocated measures to educate the players of what awaits them if they indulged in fixing a cricket match. "If the person agrees, talk about sharing cells with hardcore criminals, making do with unclean lavatories, starving oneself so that you won't have to use those lavatories - this is something the players need to know because that is what awaits them if they are found guilty."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY MohitJohar on | May 21, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    How about having the players stats intact but flagged red - so that every time the match figures are shown , the tainted players name does appear but highlighted !! This way there would be no issue of stats mismatch and completeness of the information on the match scorecard , and also will make sure that the wring doers get enough punishment by the red flag.... The counter argument would be that it is a sensitive issue and we should not talk about it every time we are looking at a scorecard - but come on ! high time we spoke about this and make sure that the punishment is big enough to deter people from getting involved in these !!!

  • POSTED BY imransaheb on | May 21, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Nothing will help.A person who makes money in the game has no love for either his game or his country.He will not be pushed.His greed for money far outweighs sane living and survival.

  • POSTED BY nikunjforu on | May 21, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Even murderers have a life sentence . What greater punishment for a cricketer then taking away 5 years from his best years.

  • POSTED BY sarath141 on | May 21, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    "Expunging records" would be brutal to say the least. Can the same analogy be applied to politicians who are caught in various schemes. One mistake should not erase the history of deeds.

  • POSTED BY on | May 21, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    Aakash Chopra has made the 'expunging of records of tainted players' to ESPNCricinfo, while Anil Kumble who is a prominent member of the BCCI's technical committee suggested the same through video conferencing during the Board's emergency working committee meeting called to discuss the fallout of the spot-fixing incident. One statistician has very CORRECTLY pointed out that: "Removing the tainted players' names from the scorecards/records will mean that we'll have missing entries in scorecards in different sections. Batting and bowling entries won't tally at all. This will leave us in a complete mess as far as statistics are concerned. They will be rendered meaningless. Also, what will you do with the result of such a match."

  • POSTED BY Mr_Anonymous on | May 21, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    I am sorry Aakash, I will have to disagree with you on the issue of expunging of records. People sometimes lose their way due to stress and greed and you need to make sure that the right punishment is given so that they are penalized quickly and adequately. However, expunging a record is basically making it very black and white. "Once a thief, always a thief" and things are not like that in real life. Do you have any proof that when Sreesanth was bowling in 2006 against South Africa and we won a test in Johannesburg, he was involved with match or spot fixing? If not, I don't think there is any reason to expunge that record or any past record when he was not involved with corruption.

    If Cricket was an individual sport, perhaps that might make more sense. Since it is a team sport, I don't think that makes a lot of sense to do this.

    The BCCI should focus more on training/outreach programs to help prevent losing other talented cricketers to corruption and strengthen vigilance.

  • POSTED BY SivaSurapaneni on | May 21, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    "Hall of Shame" sounds good :)

  • POSTED BY EverybodylovesSachin on | May 21, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    If guilty does not matter what records say. expunged or not ..This three are all over the cricketing world if they are guilty and they will not be playing Cricket again. For sure. If you expunged or not it is a technical term nobody cares..

  • POSTED BY Vishal_07 on | May 21, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    How do you expunge individual records w/o affecting team records. If Sreesanth took wickets in a match and you remove his performance what does that mean in terms of Team India's performance.

    I think the players need to levied heavy fine followed by imprisonment (or in any order). Hopefully, this will trickle down to politicians as well at some point in future!

  • POSTED BY getgopi on | May 21, 2013, 2:17 GMT

    What about that short, pacy Sreesanth delivery that made Jacques Kallis jump when India toured SA the last time? It was one of the "moments" of that test series for me (sigh).

  • POSTED BY MohitJohar on | May 21, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    How about having the players stats intact but flagged red - so that every time the match figures are shown , the tainted players name does appear but highlighted !! This way there would be no issue of stats mismatch and completeness of the information on the match scorecard , and also will make sure that the wring doers get enough punishment by the red flag.... The counter argument would be that it is a sensitive issue and we should not talk about it every time we are looking at a scorecard - but come on ! high time we spoke about this and make sure that the punishment is big enough to deter people from getting involved in these !!!

  • POSTED BY imransaheb on | May 21, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Nothing will help.A person who makes money in the game has no love for either his game or his country.He will not be pushed.His greed for money far outweighs sane living and survival.

  • POSTED BY nikunjforu on | May 21, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Even murderers have a life sentence . What greater punishment for a cricketer then taking away 5 years from his best years.

  • POSTED BY sarath141 on | May 21, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    "Expunging records" would be brutal to say the least. Can the same analogy be applied to politicians who are caught in various schemes. One mistake should not erase the history of deeds.

  • POSTED BY on | May 21, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    Aakash Chopra has made the 'expunging of records of tainted players' to ESPNCricinfo, while Anil Kumble who is a prominent member of the BCCI's technical committee suggested the same through video conferencing during the Board's emergency working committee meeting called to discuss the fallout of the spot-fixing incident. One statistician has very CORRECTLY pointed out that: "Removing the tainted players' names from the scorecards/records will mean that we'll have missing entries in scorecards in different sections. Batting and bowling entries won't tally at all. This will leave us in a complete mess as far as statistics are concerned. They will be rendered meaningless. Also, what will you do with the result of such a match."

  • POSTED BY Mr_Anonymous on | May 21, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    I am sorry Aakash, I will have to disagree with you on the issue of expunging of records. People sometimes lose their way due to stress and greed and you need to make sure that the right punishment is given so that they are penalized quickly and adequately. However, expunging a record is basically making it very black and white. "Once a thief, always a thief" and things are not like that in real life. Do you have any proof that when Sreesanth was bowling in 2006 against South Africa and we won a test in Johannesburg, he was involved with match or spot fixing? If not, I don't think there is any reason to expunge that record or any past record when he was not involved with corruption.

    If Cricket was an individual sport, perhaps that might make more sense. Since it is a team sport, I don't think that makes a lot of sense to do this.

    The BCCI should focus more on training/outreach programs to help prevent losing other talented cricketers to corruption and strengthen vigilance.

  • POSTED BY SivaSurapaneni on | May 21, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    "Hall of Shame" sounds good :)

  • POSTED BY EverybodylovesSachin on | May 21, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    If guilty does not matter what records say. expunged or not ..This three are all over the cricketing world if they are guilty and they will not be playing Cricket again. For sure. If you expunged or not it is a technical term nobody cares..

  • POSTED BY Vishal_07 on | May 21, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    How do you expunge individual records w/o affecting team records. If Sreesanth took wickets in a match and you remove his performance what does that mean in terms of Team India's performance.

    I think the players need to levied heavy fine followed by imprisonment (or in any order). Hopefully, this will trickle down to politicians as well at some point in future!

  • POSTED BY getgopi on | May 21, 2013, 2:17 GMT

    What about that short, pacy Sreesanth delivery that made Jacques Kallis jump when India toured SA the last time? It was one of the "moments" of that test series for me (sigh).

  • POSTED BY vxttemp on | May 21, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    I agree with Akash totally on this " life bans or five-year bans coming back to mainstream cricket as television pundits or coaches or politicians" There are just too many holes in the system. Maybe erase the name and replace it with country name for the record sake :-) Maybe that will be a lesson for others. At least in India.

  • POSTED BY Abster911 on | May 20, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    There may be some sense in expunging from records....this is a vague example but take Lance Armstrong's case...all his titles was striped along with his sponsors (or ex) who filed cases on him; Trust in many people was broken, which is also similar in Sreesanth's case. History may still say Lance won, but after being striped off, it wont mean the guys who came 2nd would get the 1st prize rit? Perhaps something similar could be done in Sreesanth's and the other 2's case. on a side note, somehow I dont agree on sending players for long periods in Jail, there are worse crimes out there.

  • POSTED BY MostCulturedAussieSirLesPatterson on | May 20, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    Yeah, while we're at it let's wipe Hitler, Mussolini and Atilla the Hun out of history for starters.

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | May 20, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    Expunging records is kind of a questionable thing to do. As already pointed out, it will create holes in history. Plus it makes no negative effect really on the players who cheated. Punishment should be in terms of severe penalty and a life-time ban from all forms of cricket. And have a publicly accessible Hall of Shame list, where their names will be etched forever.

  • POSTED BY Secunderabadi on | May 20, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    Remove Shreesant's records and the world cup that India won with the catch of Misbah-ul-Haq would be considered as dropped and Pakisthan thus becoming the champions.

    Now watch out everyone who gives away run will be under scrutiny and anyone getting out w/o scoring.....needless to say.

  • POSTED BY makingsillypoints on | May 20, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    Coming from someone who's usually so considered and thoughtful, the simplistic and venomous nature of these comments is jarring.

    Rewriting history is a very peculiar form of justice. Match records aren't a player's personal property, so as to be stripped from them, they're historical record for posterity. Distorting that doesn't help anybody. As for the passage, "if somebody has cheated once, I would err... and say he has been a cheat all his life. And if he is not a cheat, I need to set a precedent", that suggests that the most basic tenets of justice (like the need for evidence before presuming guilt) be thrown out the window in the name of scaring potential future offenders.

    Fines? Sure. Bans? Alright. Prison? Okay (but each in proportion, and ensuring that the accused get due process and evidence is adequate). Witch hunts, historical revisionism and post-facto whip cracking for show rather than systemic solutions would reflect a sad and complete lack of thought and vision.

  • POSTED BY sliceanddice on | May 20, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    @Mike. Yes, erasing records might seem unusual. On the other, hypothetically, let's say a player is in his final days, has done it all, really, and decides to cheat - in this scenario a life ban would make no difference since he's almost ready to retire anyway. While erasing records as punishment might seems unorthodox, I think this situation calls for unorthodox methods. Whatever the solution at the players' end (including educating young players at club level about the severe consequences of cheating/engaging with bookies) - the law in each respective country needs to deal with the threat of bookies with as much zeal as they go after the players, if not more. Yes, arresting a booking isn't half as sensational a headline as arresting a famous cricketer - but you have to make it as hard as you can for bookies.

  • POSTED BY on | May 20, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    I agree with @Mike Patrick's assessment that erasing records of Shantakumaran Sreesanth would mean rendering all the internationals matches he has played in meaningless. How can one erase Sreesanth's name on the records of other players who have been out to him either bowled, caught or stumped? How can one replace his name on scorecards of matches that Indian have played in? I am clueless. Maybe Akaash Chopra can explain it better through a special article on ESPNCricinfo. Regards

  • POSTED BY British_North_America on | May 20, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    You may take away the awards he received but you cannot remove the history.It is not army position that you can strip off.You should seize the money he earned in illegal way and ban him for lifetime from professional cricket.

  • POSTED BY sportofpain on | May 20, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    This makes no sense at all. You cannot assume that if a person has cheated once he has been a cheat all his life. People change over time, some get tempted and fall prey but may have been completely above board earlier. You have to assume that. The punishment must fit the crime, nothing more, nothing less. Akash - we are all fallible and imperfect human beings. Not only should the previous records remain but there should be a path to redemption as well for these players. They are but dispensable pawns who are being used by others to make much, much more money than these players themselves. It is those people that the attention of the authorities must be focused upon.

  • POSTED BY VS16 on | May 20, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    @sharidas, paying fine for the mistakes like this is not sufficient. Paying fine is almost like buying your mistakes with money. I partly agree with Aakash on this one. It is the player's intellect that is being erased. That proves to the others also that "Money cannot buy everything".

  • POSTED BY on | May 20, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    I think the bigger thing is to wipe out all their bank accounts - let them restart life with nothing. One might not care about cricketing records - but they do care about the lure of money and must realize that they are risking it all.

  • POSTED BY on | May 20, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    I don't understand the proposal. The players apparently did not try hard in certain circumstances. They had to try hard in others or they would not get picked. If they had not cheated their records would be better. This is completely different from Lance Armstrong and others who have cheated to make their records better. Taking credit from other players who accidentally may have benefited from the cheating players not trying does no-one any good.

  • POSTED BY on | May 20, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    Erasing a player's record if found guilty makes no sense to me whatsoever. If they're cheating they aren't playing for their statistics, they're playing for money - unless you're going to say "oh, and by the way, all those T20s you've played that we have erased, you're going to have to give your salaray back" which just isn't going to happen. Hit them hard and hit them where it hurts - their bank balances.

  • POSTED BY sharidas on | May 20, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    I must say, that I totally disagree with Aakash Chopra and BCCI. Here we are not talking of many players who represented India, but just one, plus two who represented a state perhaps. I do not think that in the face of money, having their records erased really matter to them, but it matters to the general public who wish to have records of everything that went on in the past. Those who cheat, should be made to pay a fine which should be at least 10 times their total earnings playing for their teams in the IPL, state or country plus a total ban. Why cannot be this clause be put into every Players' contract ? Would there be a better deterrent than this ? Failing to pay should land them in prison. Fair enough ?

  • POSTED BY on | May 20, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    While I can understand the idea, it would make things a little unusual when looking over scorecards etc if a player is completely wiped off all the records. How do you explain a Sreesanth 5 wicket haul if he is not in the records? It would make it seem as though the batsmen got out for no reason. Yes he might have cheated but a life ban should serve as a reminder for that; not acknowledging that a player took part in a match feels like a child not talking to another child because they broke their favourite toy.

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  • POSTED BY on | May 20, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    While I can understand the idea, it would make things a little unusual when looking over scorecards etc if a player is completely wiped off all the records. How do you explain a Sreesanth 5 wicket haul if he is not in the records? It would make it seem as though the batsmen got out for no reason. Yes he might have cheated but a life ban should serve as a reminder for that; not acknowledging that a player took part in a match feels like a child not talking to another child because they broke their favourite toy.

  • POSTED BY sharidas on | May 20, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    I must say, that I totally disagree with Aakash Chopra and BCCI. Here we are not talking of many players who represented India, but just one, plus two who represented a state perhaps. I do not think that in the face of money, having their records erased really matter to them, but it matters to the general public who wish to have records of everything that went on in the past. Those who cheat, should be made to pay a fine which should be at least 10 times their total earnings playing for their teams in the IPL, state or country plus a total ban. Why cannot be this clause be put into every Players' contract ? Would there be a better deterrent than this ? Failing to pay should land them in prison. Fair enough ?

  • POSTED BY on | May 20, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    Erasing a player's record if found guilty makes no sense to me whatsoever. If they're cheating they aren't playing for their statistics, they're playing for money - unless you're going to say "oh, and by the way, all those T20s you've played that we have erased, you're going to have to give your salaray back" which just isn't going to happen. Hit them hard and hit them where it hurts - their bank balances.

  • POSTED BY on | May 20, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    I don't understand the proposal. The players apparently did not try hard in certain circumstances. They had to try hard in others or they would not get picked. If they had not cheated their records would be better. This is completely different from Lance Armstrong and others who have cheated to make their records better. Taking credit from other players who accidentally may have benefited from the cheating players not trying does no-one any good.

  • POSTED BY on | May 20, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    I think the bigger thing is to wipe out all their bank accounts - let them restart life with nothing. One might not care about cricketing records - but they do care about the lure of money and must realize that they are risking it all.

  • POSTED BY VS16 on | May 20, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    @sharidas, paying fine for the mistakes like this is not sufficient. Paying fine is almost like buying your mistakes with money. I partly agree with Aakash on this one. It is the player's intellect that is being erased. That proves to the others also that "Money cannot buy everything".

  • POSTED BY sportofpain on | May 20, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    This makes no sense at all. You cannot assume that if a person has cheated once he has been a cheat all his life. People change over time, some get tempted and fall prey but may have been completely above board earlier. You have to assume that. The punishment must fit the crime, nothing more, nothing less. Akash - we are all fallible and imperfect human beings. Not only should the previous records remain but there should be a path to redemption as well for these players. They are but dispensable pawns who are being used by others to make much, much more money than these players themselves. It is those people that the attention of the authorities must be focused upon.

  • POSTED BY British_North_America on | May 20, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    You may take away the awards he received but you cannot remove the history.It is not army position that you can strip off.You should seize the money he earned in illegal way and ban him for lifetime from professional cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | May 20, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    I agree with @Mike Patrick's assessment that erasing records of Shantakumaran Sreesanth would mean rendering all the internationals matches he has played in meaningless. How can one erase Sreesanth's name on the records of other players who have been out to him either bowled, caught or stumped? How can one replace his name on scorecards of matches that Indian have played in? I am clueless. Maybe Akaash Chopra can explain it better through a special article on ESPNCricinfo. Regards

  • POSTED BY sliceanddice on | May 20, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    @Mike. Yes, erasing records might seem unusual. On the other, hypothetically, let's say a player is in his final days, has done it all, really, and decides to cheat - in this scenario a life ban would make no difference since he's almost ready to retire anyway. While erasing records as punishment might seems unorthodox, I think this situation calls for unorthodox methods. Whatever the solution at the players' end (including educating young players at club level about the severe consequences of cheating/engaging with bookies) - the law in each respective country needs to deal with the threat of bookies with as much zeal as they go after the players, if not more. Yes, arresting a booking isn't half as sensational a headline as arresting a famous cricketer - but you have to make it as hard as you can for bookies.