Sunil Gavaskar wants the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be remembered for the cricket only.
In Abu Dhabi to address his first media conference after taking over as the interim president of the BCCI, the former India skipper said, "After the final on June 2, I want people to remember the IPL for the quality of competition and nothing else... I am deeply humbled at the Indian Supreme Court's directive to appoint me in this post and I want the league to be as controversy-free as possible."
The BCCI and its controversial chief, N Srinivasan, faced the wrath of the apex court recently. The court also proposed that Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals — two franchises whose owners/officials/players were arrested for betting-related offences — be suspended before allowing them to participate in the league. When asked if the said teams should have been allowed to play, Gavaskar straight-batted the query in typical style: "It's the Supreme Court's decision and we abide by it."
The Indian cricket fraternity has had a love-hate relationship with the UAE. Over the years, the Gulf kingdom has witnessed many an Indian win but there have also been serious concerns over the presence of "anti-social" elements in Sharjah. To put it simply, the city used to be the hotbed of match-fixing. "The local police and International Cricket Council authorities have ensured their cooperation," Gavaskar said. For now, he is focusing on the state of wickets of the three world-class stadiums in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah which will host a whopping 20 matches between Aprl 16 and 30. "I have stressed the need of good wickets in all three venues as it's the pre-requisite for a good contest," Gavaskar said, adding, "Let's hope the IPL 2014 can work as a springboard for the future editions.