The Rajasthan Royals (RR) have made it to the Play-Offs following splendid performance this season and Rahul Dravid's men have been praised to heavens for pulling up everything they have got but their happiness didn't last even for a few days, as the 'spot-fixing scam' has hit them like a bolt from the blue.
Giving a huge blow to Rajasthan Royals, the Delhi Police on Thursday arrested three of its bowlers - S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila - in Mumbai in connection with spot-fixing in the ongoing IPL matches. They have been put under police custody along with 11 other bookies for five days after been produced before the Saket Court.
In what could cause more blow to the team, Firstpost reported that two other Rajasthan Royals players Ajinkya Rahane and Brad Hodge are reportedly under the Delhi police scanner after the cricketer-turned-bookie Amit Shah claimed during an interrogation that one of the matches between RR and Delhi Daredevils in IPL 5 might have been fixed.
There is no legal standing on the claims made on Rahane and Hodge till it is placed before the court but it could affect the team in more ways than one.
The BCCI has suspended Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila after the police arrested and charged them under section 240 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code (IPC). That mean Rajasthan Royals' bench strength has been reduced. And if allegations on Rahane and Hodge turn out true, the team would be affected badly, as they (especially Rahane) have played crucial roles in several games this season.
For Rajasthan Royals, the controversy is more than just the unavailability of some of the players for the remaining matches. It could cause lots of mental trauma and affect their dressing room aura and performance on the field.
All eyes will be on them when they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday as people will raise questions every time a wicket falls and every time a bowler bowls a loose delivery. This cynicism could kill the spirit of cricket lovers.
Rajasthan Royals have expressed their shock over the controversy and promised co-operation in the investigation process. They said in a statement that there should be 'zero tolerance' on such activities.
Skipper Rahul Dravid, who is known for his clean image and speaks only when essential, said the team was hurt by the scam. He must be hurt like no one else because he has put in lots of effort in shaping up the team, which is a bundle of young domestic talents unlike other teams with big international stars.
Rajasthan Royals are lucky to have an experienced and senior cricketer Rahul Dravid to lead the team at a time like this. If there is one person, who can fix a mess such as this, it has to be 'The Wall'.
"For me as a captain and leader, I have to focus on ensuring the team fulfil their enormous potential and continue to play in the Rajasthan Royals way," Dravid told reporters.