Rahul Dravid, Rajasthan Royals' team mentor, has said he respects the Justice Lodha Panel's decision to suspend Royals and Chennai Super Kings' owners for two years, but felt the court's decision was a massive blow to the prospects of the younger players in the two teams.
Dravid, who is currently the coach of the India A team, was speaking at a press conference in Chennai ahead of India A's four-day match against South Africa A. While he refused to get drawn into the specifics of Lodha's verdict, Dravid said the entire episode would affect "everyone involved with Indian cricket".
"I don't want to make firm judgments on people, but it's disappointing that the actions of one or two can have an impact on so many," Dravid said. "Not only me, but generally in a situation like this, the people at the bottom of the pyramid are the ones who are most affected.
"The top players and coaches always find stuff to do afterwards. It's not difficult for top players to be picked by other franchises. However, the young players who don't easily get an opportunity, they miss out. I feel disappointed for them, but we respect the decision the court has taken. In my opinion, not everyone at Rajasthan Royals or Chennai Super Kings are bad. There are lots of very, very good people."
When asked if his association with Royals would forever be a blot on his career, Dravid diplomatically insisted it was "for the people to decide", but said had he been aware of any wrongdoing in the team, he would have "dealt with it".
"At the end of the day, I see my role as a mentor and as a coach of a team. People need to decide if the actions of shareholders or owners can be linked to coaches or mentors. I don't want to try and defend myself. I only wish I had known that the three players were doing something suspicious, as I would have dealt with it," he said.
"People know what spot-fixing is. It's difficult to know, even if in same team, if people are involved in spot-fixing. If I were to doubt every single wide or four, I would lose all my love and interest in the game. Any team I coach, I don't go into it suspecting people everytime they get hit for a four. I had absolutely no clue, and I've spoken to the Mudgal commission about that. What people do in their private lives, I personally feel it's difficult for mentors and coaches to know what decisions they are making."