Money and glamour can deviate youngsters` focus: Shoaib Akhtar
New Delhi: Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar conceded that money and glamour can lead to youngsters going astray in international cricket but in some cases it is the system that turns players into "criminals".
"How do you tell an 18-yr-old to not look at girls. There are heady temptations of fame and girls swooning over rising stars. At 20 you get fame, you`ve crores in your pocket, you have people who lead you down the wrong path," Akhtar told TV Channel `Headlines Today`.
Recently three girls were briefly arrested from the hotel room of West Indies batsman Chris Gayle after a party to celebrate the team`s semifinal qualification in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Akhtar said besides the temptations, the system is such that cricketers, who do not get enough support get corrupted.
"Fixing happens in our culture because there`s less money, there are even lesser opportunities. Cricketers victimised by their boards return to mint money.
"In 2008, I had no money to even buy a car. I had to borrow money from a friend. I handled it, others go astray. Your friends ditch you, board doesn`t back you. They all run you down. So when you return you think let me teach them a lesson. Some are corrupt but some cricketers are turned into criminals by the system," he said.
When asked if he considers the glamorous IPL a threat to
the game, Shoaib said the event is just "business and entertainment and not cricket".
"Don`t make it the benchmark. IPL is not cricket, it can`t be India`s criteria for excellence. If it prospers at the cost of first class cricket then it is very bad. What`s worse IPL can make players limit their goals, dream small.
"Wide-eyed boys from villages are left in total awe of this cocktail of glamour and money. It is the responsibility of IPL team owners to guard young players.`
He also held out an ominous warning.
"In 4-5 years, IPL will hurt quality of India`s bench strength. IPL will never give you another Sachin Tendulkar. The Kapils and Sachins and the Dravids can`t be produced through IPL.".