BENGALURU: It has just been over a month since the newly elected office-bearers of Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) assumed their roles. But with the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) being embroiled in corruption scandal even more of late, it has not been smooth sailing.
Things turned worse on Thursday morning, with the arrests of former Karnataka players CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi. As a result, the office-bearers had a meeting during the evening. They decided to suspend all those arrested so far — Gautam, Kazi, Vinu Prasad, M Vishwanathan and Nishant Singh Shekhawat — from all forms of the game till the completion of police inquiry.
Belagavi Panthers owner Ali Asfak Thara was suspended in early October. KSCA will take a call depending on the inquiry, and a top official said that “life ban is possible as well”.
“It is very unfortunate that such big players like Gautam and Kazi have been involved,” the official added. “The entire KSCA fraternity is disappointed. I do not think any player should get involved in such kind of cases. We will cooperate with the police in all these matters.”
Gautam is a domestic veteran, having played 94 first-class matches. He has also been a part of IPL franchises Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Kazi has played 17 first-class matches, and also turned out once for RCB.Both play for Ballari Tuskers in KPL.
“I was absolutely stunned when I learned about it in the morning,” said a support-staff member of a KPL franchise. “I am still recovering from it. Not even in my wildest dream did I feel that Kazi and Gautam would be doing these acts. I am in a state of daze. I have not been able to work and concentrate on anything after I heard this. I cannot even comprehend as to why this is happening in the league, or with such players.”
People who know Gautam closely also expressed shock over his involvement. For one Belagavi Panthers player, these arrests have been a wake-up call. “It was someone else who informed me about them being involved. I did not believe it initially, but I was shocked to see that it was true when I saw it on the news and social media.“Also, I do not know how bookies get in touch with players, that too with such big names. It is very big lesson for us, not to mingle with people whom you do not know. Players have to be careful.”