Shabir Hussein Shekhadam Khandwawala, the former Gujarat director general of police, has taken over from Ajit Singh as the BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit chief. Singh started in the job in April 2018, and his term ended on March 31, but he has confirmed that he will be around to help his successor settle into the role.
"It is a matter of a great honour that I am part of the BCCI which is the best run cricketing body in the world. Besides my expertise on security matters, what should help me in this role is my love for the game," 70-year-old Khandwawala told PTI. "I also want to congratulate my predecessor for doing a fine a job and keeping Indian cricket's image clean."
In the latest instance, the BCCI did not invite applications for the post.
Khandwawala retired from his position in the Gujarat police in December 2010, and worked in the corporate sector after that for ten years. He has also been a part of the central government's Lokpal Search Committee.
The new anti-corruption boss would be flying to Chennai on Wednesday, ahead of the start of the IPL on April 9. He had attended the final ODI between India and England in Pune on March 28 for a taste of his new job.
Khandwawala stressed that he didn't want betting to be legalised in India, a suggestion that has done the rounds since the time corruption in the game stopped being a secret around the turn of the millennium.
"Whether the government legalises betting or not that is a different matter, but deep inside, I feel as a police officer that betting can lead to match fixing," he said. "The government, so far, has rightly not legalised betting.
"Betting encourages match-fixing. So there should not be any change on this, we can make the rules more strict. We will work on that. It is a matter of great prestige that cricket is largely free of corruption. Credit should go to BCCI for that."
Among the people to have suggested legalising betting in a bid to control corruption was Singh, Khandwawala's predecessor. But the new boss felt otherwise.
"Betting might be legal in some countries but the people who go into stadiums to watch the game and watch it on television they believe in this game and don't go to grounds thinking this game could be fixed," Khandwawala said. We need to protect their belief that game is free of all corruption.
"Our top players are so well paid that they are miles from the menace of match-fixing. We should feel proud about that. Rooting out corruption from smaller events and leagues is a big challenge and we need to put an end to it. We need to ensure there is nothing shady happening at all levels of cricket being played in the country. Besides detecting, preventing any shady activity is very important."