CHENNAI: Several cricketers have brought disrepute to the game by using illegal and unfair practices in the sport which should be actually based on honesty, uprightness and integrity, former Indian captain Bishen Singh Bedi said on Saturday.
".. it is the players who have caused havoc in world cricket, if not Indian cricket," he said, speaking on 'Is Cricket facing credibility crisis?', organised by the Palkhivala Foundation.
Observing that the game is directly linked with honesty, uprightness and integrity, he said, "For me, cricket is also linked with spirituality."
Recalling the 'bodyline' tactics of former English captain Douglas Jardine, who placed seven players behind the batsman, he said, "Here you can see that the players brought this and later this was not allowed."
"Ball tampering was brought in by players. They used bottle top, grease stuff and thereby took undue advantage. That's why the ball is given to umpires these days after a wicket is taken," said Bedi.
Making a sarcastic comment on 'doosra' delivery, he said, "What do you call another man in a woman's life, who has already got a husband. Doosra! Is it legal? Then how can 'doosra' be legal on the field?"
"Somebody has to bell the cat, you know," he said. Blaming players for changing cricket's reputation for the worse, he said, "From the length of the pitch, weight of the ball to height of the stumps, nothing has changed. But change is in the producers, directors and actors of the game. The tamasha is that they come to be seen. It was not there earlier."
A known critic of the IPL, he said people want to believe IPL is entertainment. But when cricket was invented, it was to pull people out of depression. So there was no need to have an 'induced entertainment.' "I feel strongly that IPL is doing a lot of harm to the youth of the country. It makes the youth realise saturation point too soon," Bedi said.
Recalling his letters and discussions with Australian cricket legend Don Bradman, he said he referred to an interview of the Australian in a newspaper, where he had said he wanted to be remembered for his integrity.
"A good cricketer is one good student of the game and a good administrator is one servant of the game and not a boss, because cricket is the boss," he said on the recent spot-fixing controversy, which shook the game for a couple of months.
"But nothing has changed. There is nothing called stepping aside, stepping up and stepping down. There is a difference, you know," he said.
To a query on recent instances of players refusing to 'walk' from the pitch, he said, "Umpires are human too and cricket compels one to make a mistake. Cricketers have to be blamed. If you think you have made a mistake, leave."
"Cricket revival needs youngsters to be told the importance of walking. Cheating has no place in cricket."
Asked to pick a player from across the globe who looked good in his eyes, he named England captain Alistair Cook. "He has made many hundreds in Test cricket and more importantly the way he carries himself on and off the field."
On BCCI's contention on Umpire Decision Referral System not being 100 per cent correct, he said "There is nothing that is 100 per cent in cricket. You don't know whether you'll hit a century that day on the pitch. When there is no 100 per cent in cricket, how can you expect 100 per cent in a technology used for cricket."
Asked whether Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga was chucking, he said, "No, no, no. Although his bowling is clumsy, awkward and ugly, it is not chucking."