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IPL will emerge stronger after the controversy: Dravid

Dubai: Senior Indian cricket players Rahul Dravid and Mahendra Singh Dhoni believe the Indian Premier League will survive the current corruption scandal.

Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi has been suspended pending investigations of alleged corruption related to bidding for two of the clubs, television broadcast deals and other matters. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Former India captain Dravid, who plays for the Royal Challengers in the IPL, was hopeful the lucrative Twenty20 league would sort out the mess for the benefit of fans and said Wednesday that it would not affect players.

"I`m sure they`ll do what is right for the game," Dravid told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the SportAccord convention in Dubai.

"It`s important. The people of India love their cricket," he said. "This league has been hugely popular and they deserve a well organized and good run league. I hope going ahead that will be the case."

India captain Dhoni agreed, saying: "The IPL is here to stay."

"Not one individual but a few brains will have to work together to ensure it stays innovative."

Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings to win the eight-team IPL competition last week, defeating Sachin Tendulkar`s Mumbai Indians in the final.

"He (Modi) was part of it for the first three years, we have grown and with each season we have come up with something better," he said. "I`m sure they will come up with something that is good for everyone involved.

"We need to be patient and we certainly have enough time because the next edition is a year away."

Dravid said this year`s league was one of the best, with competitive matches all the way to the final. But he acknowledged that it would have been better to see the cricket on the back sports pages, rather than the front news sections.

"From a players perspective, it`s not nice there are negative things about anything you play in," he said.

Still, he said the IPL and the booming popularity of Twenty20 cricket generally was bringing more money into the sport and attracting new classes of fans in India and beyond.

"What we are seeing in India is there are a lot more women and children getting hooked on the game," Dravid said. "That is great for the game. It brings new audiences and new revenue which should hopefully benefit the other, more traditional forms of games. It gives players more opportunity to earn a decent living and showcase their talent."

Dravid acknowledged the sport was a lot more commercial than when he came on the scene 15 years ago, but he insisted money was not to blame for the IPL`s current woes.

"I don`t think you can blame money. There is money in every sport," he said. "The more popular a sport becomes, the more we want to make it commercially viable to provide facilities. I don`t think money per se is a problem."

Meanwhile, Bal Thackeray, leader of India`s Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena, criticized the Board of Control for Cricket in India for appointing Chirayu Amin as interim chairman on Monday.

"Modi has been replaced by another big shot industrialist," Press Trust of India quoted Thackeray as saying.

Thackeray suggested that former Test cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri -- who are on the IPL`s governing council -- or Ajit Wadekar should have been considered for the post.

Bureau Report

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