'Looking After Young Cricketers Will Be Important', Says Shabir Hussein Khandwawala
Q: Will the past cases like the 2013 IPL fixing scandal help?
A: The cases detected in the past have already been of great help to the ACU. It is only through them that we have been able to find out who all is involved - directly and indirectly - in these activities. How they approach the players, how they organize the tournaments etc. The people involved - directly or indirectly - are under our watch through police, officials, or other sources. The cases we have detected have been of great help to us.
Q: How much focus does this need?
A: It (surveillance) is a continuous activity. Those indulging in corrupt practices use new technologies, newer techniques. We have to detect them. It is a constant struggle between their talent and our acumen.
Q: How do you hope to overcome technological barriers, considering that the fixers find newer ways and methods, and just barring their entry to hotels or dressing rooms alone doesn't help?
A: See, the penalties are very heavy. Everyone knows that. The [player's] future is at stake. Yes, new technologies are there but they can also be brought under surveillance. Don't you think not being able to play for two, three or four years at the highest level is in itself a very, very heavy penalty? You lose one series and that itself is a big penalty. And if you are away for 3-4 years, that makes a lot of difference.
Q: Have you been talking to your predecessor?
A: Yes, I have been speaking to my predecessors. I have requested my predecessor (Ajit Singh) to come to Chennai as I want to try and understand things further. You strengthen an organization like that. I will try to continue and build on what the previous officers had done.
Every day a new challenge is expected to come. You have to have a very good team, one that is integrated. Communication is most crucial. Respect and confidence and faith and encouraging your team is very crucial. As a team leader that is expected of you. If I do that, then no challenge would be big enough.
Q: The smaller leagues are said to be most vulnerable to corrupt practices...
A: I have been told [about that]. For people who have been organizing these kinds of tournaments, some kind of legal action has been taken against them. There are things we are working on. Anyway, those tournaments don't happen without the permission of the BCCI. Once they are given permission, we have to be careful to ensure illegal activities don't take place. But at the moment, conducting the IPL smoothly is the priority for us.
Q: Have you played cricket at some level?
A: I was always fond of cricket. I played for my school team, but could not play in college because I was a science student. But after joining the police, I organized cricket at the district level, then at the range level, etc. I started state-level (intra-state in Gujarat) tournaments for the police and also conducted inter-services tournaments etc.
I did it for a number of years. I used to play regularly in them. I was a medium-pacer. I always opened the batting for the Police XI and Combined Services XI. Initially, I also used to open the bowling, but became a first change bowler when younger players came into the team. Cricket has been my passion.
Q: Who is your favorite cricketer?
A: I always loved watching Sunil Gavaskar. He was fantastic. I liked Sachin Tendulkar and (Virender) Sehwag too. Also, (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni was out of this world.
Q: And among the current lot?
A: (Virat) Kohli is unbelievable. His self-confidence is amazing. I was watching the last ODI in Pune at the stadium since I had gone there to meet the office-bearers of the board and then I visited the office [in Mumbai] where I spent the whole day understanding things. What I liked about Kohli was that he came to the bowlers and talked to them even while standing at the boundary line.