Shocked, disappointed, distressed: Rahul Dravid

Hyderabad, May 16 (IANS) Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid said Thursday he was shocked, disappointed and distressed by the spot-fixing scandal that led to the arrest of three of the team’s players.

“I am shocked, disappointed and distressed by the events that resulted in arrests last night and this morning. Rajasthan Royals is a special team and we have always operated like a family so this is devastating. Spot fixing and corruption hang over the game of cricket which is extremely sad and dangerous,” he said in a statement read out at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium here Thursday evening before the team’s last league match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.

A grim-looking Dravid along with coach Paddy Upton came before the media to make their separate statements shortly after the team arrived at the stadium around 6.30 p.m amid tight security for the practice under lights.

Mediapersons were strictly barred from asking any questions. The duo walked out of the press conference hall silently after making the brief statements.

The team had their practice session amid tight security. Mediapersons were asked to leave the stadium immediately after the captain and the coach made their statements.

Dravid said the BCCI and Rajasthan Royals take the same zero tolerance view of the situation.

“The Rajasthan Royals owners and management have made their zero tolerance view clear on every possible occasion and I am sure that they will support any action taken. “

“For me as a captain and leader I have to focus on ensuring that the team fulfill their enormous potential and continue to play in Rajasthan Royals way. Our players are devastated that our performances may have been affected as they have the desire to win and this has been evident throughout the tournament. The players and people around the team are hurting,” he said.

“I hope that our fans get behind us and we become stronger as a unit which often happens in a time of adversity. This has been tough day for me, team and for the cricket,” the captain added.

“As Rahul says, the Rajasthan Royals environment is a very special one. We focus on team first and playing entertaining cricket, identify new players and promoting young players to the front line. We create an environment where inexperienced compete with the most experienced – and that approach has its risks,” coach Paddy Upton said.

“Today has seen an unfurling of events that have left us all shocked and disappointed, and we will support the franchise, the BCCI and the authorities in taking all necessary actions to root out an evil that plagues our game.”

The coach said they would not let the team lose its focus on completing what has been a magnificent tournament so far. “We will not let bad eggs ruin the game that we all love. We will not affect the values that Rajastan Royals hold dea. We will not let them destroy the fantastic environment that we have worked so hard to build and achieve this season”

“The Royals character has been tested on field many times this IPL. Today our character as a team and franchise is being tested off the field. As we have done on the field, we will stand up and be counted,” he added.

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