From children to adults, no fan is immune to the thrill of getting an autograph from their favourite sportsperson. In fact, it’s a common sight to see fans beseeching cricketers fielding on the boundary for a quick autograph. Most players are happy to oblige, knowing that a scrawled signature can often be a souvenir that will be cherished for a lifetime.
However, this link between cricketers and fans is set to be severed, if the BCCI has its way. “We have asked cricketers not to give autographs while the match is on, during the IPL, Champions League T20 and all other BCCI-organised matches in India. This could be a method through which bookies may connect with cricketers. Through an autograph book, a bookie can exchange vital information about the match with a player. For example, he can be asked to score a particular number of runs while batting,” KS Madhavan, senior investigating officer of the BCCI’s Anti Coruption Unit, told TOI on Sunday, while ‘overseeing’ the Ranji Trophy final between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka at the Wankhede Stadium.
While it is difficult to obtain autographs in India due to the grounds being fenced off, in most other countries fans are able to do so, as is visible at the ongoing World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. “It is a dangerous exercise and we (anti-corruption officials of the BCCI and the ICC) are trying to push for a world-wide ban on this,” Madhavan said.