Shocked Tendulkar wants 'sincere' steps in scandal probe

NEW DELHI Fri May 31, 2013 10:57am BST

India's Sachin Tendulkar (R) and Virender Sehwag watch during a cricket practice session in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad November 13, 2012. REUTERS/Amit Dave

India's Sachin Tendulkar (R) and Virender Sehwag watch during a cricket practice session in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad November 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar is shocked by the spot-fixing scandal swirling around the country's popular Twenty20 league and urged authorities to get to the bottom of the controversy on Friday.

The May 16 arrest of three cricketers, including former test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, have exposed Indian cricket's soft underbelly.

Delhi Police have accused the trio of taking money from bookmakers to concede a pre-determined number of runs in Indian Premier League (IPL) matches but the cricketers have denied any wrongdoing.

"It has always hurt me when the game of cricket is in the news for the wrong reasons," Tendulkar, who quit IPL after his team won the sixth edition of the tournament on Sunday, said in a statement to the media.

"The developments in the last two weeks have been shocking and disappointing. As cricketers, we are always taught to go out, fight hard, give our very best and play in the true spirit of the game.

"During this difficult phase, I join every cricketer... who trust the authorities to take sincere steps to get to the root of the issue," the 40-year-old player added.

The scandal has shaken India's belief in their cricketing idols and there has been outrage over the roles of the politicians holding key positions in the cricket board.

Apart from scores of bookies from across the country which has confined legal sports betting to horse racing, police have arrested a key official of IPL's Chennai franchise in connection with the scandal.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was posed the question on Friday while returning from a foreign trip, with a journalist asking him about possible government intervention in the scandal.

"They are under investigations and it won't be proper for me to comment on the stage of investigations," Singh said.

"I would only hope that politics and sports don't get mixed up," he added.

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