Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh plans to set up cricket academies in Mumbai, Jammu, Ludhiana and other cities by the end of this year © Getty Images

Phagwara: Jun 8, 2013

With the raging IPL spot-fixing scandal denting the credibility of cricket in India, cricketer Harbhajan Singh said that every effort should be made to clean up the game and adequate steps should be taken in this regard.

“I am a small person. Bigwigs are busy cleaning the mess. I want that everything that needs to be done should be done to clean the game in wake of present IPL scenario,” Harbhajan said when asked about the IPL spot-fixing scandal.

He refused to comment when asked whether betting in cricket should be legalised or an anti-fixing law should be enacted.

Harbhajan was addressing a press conference after inaugurating a cricket academy at a private school.

Asked how he spent his time when he was out of the Indian team, Harbhajan said there was a lot of cricket left in him and he wanted to give back something to the game without being unnecessarily concerned about his future.

He expressed satisfaction at the performance of the Indian cricket team, saying there were good pace bowlers in it.

In reply to a question, he said, “Though there were many world class fast bowlers elsewhere in cricket, India has also produced classy pace bowlers like Kapil Dev.”

When a scribe told him that he looked slimmer than what he appears on television, Harbhajan quipped, “Tuhada TV kharab hai (Your TV is out of order).”

Asked about film star Shahrukh Khan’s comments that he wanted to thrash (pitayi karna) the spot-fixers in the IPL, Harbhajan joked, “Shahrukh pitey, kaun rokta hai (Shah Rukh should go ahead, who stopped him).”

To a query about possibility of him acting in a film or taking to singing, he quipped, “Let us talk cricket at present.”

Expressing concern over the menace of intoxicants and ‘nashas‘ in Punjab, Harbhajan called upon Punjab government to set up a sports hub or a sports city with international level facilities for channelizing energies of youths in a positive way and keeping them away from intoxicants and drugs.

“I will also do my bit for it for the sake of my state and the youths,” he said.

He called upon the youth to keep away from bad company and drugs.

“I feel pained on finding some of my school-day and local-level cricket companions having strayed into drugs. Two of them were very talented players and had played even Ranji Trophy. They could have played for India had they not fallen prey to the menace,” he said.

Stressing that cricket should be taken to smaller cities and villages, Harbhajan said that to promote cricket and tap young talent, he plans to set up cricket academies in Mumbai, Jammu, Ludhiana and other cities by the end of this year.

He rued that the state government was not helping him in his ventures.

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