Former India captain Rahul Dravid has said that the "scourge of overage players" in Indian junior cricket is no different to "fixing and corruption". Delivering the fourth MAK Pataudi Memorial lecture in Delhi, Dravid said age-fudging was a "toxic" exercise and a "loophole" that could only be covered up if the BCCI and state associations regulated the privately-run academies and made it mandatory for players to submit valid birth certificates.
"I think of this overage business as dangerous and even toxic and to me, gives rise to a question: If a child sees his parents and coaches cheating and creating a fake birth certificate, will he not be encouraged to become a cheat? He is being taught to lie by his own elders," Dravid said to a gathering which included former Indian captains Sunil Gavaskar, Bishen Singh Bedi, Ajit Wadekar, Mohammad Azharuddin, Anil Kumble and the Indian and South African squads. "At 14, it may be in the matter of the age criteria, at 25 it may be fixing and corruption. How are the two different in any way? In both cases, is it not blatant cheating?"
During the course of a speech that lasted exactly half an hour, Dravid felt a player's support system - parents and his coach - agree to age-fudging even with the risk of being found out. A factor of even greater concern, according to him, was that a promising young player who meets the proper criteria misses out.