The Shiv Sena on Friday expressed dismay over spot-fixing allegations, saying cricket, since the advent of the Indian Premier League, no longer remained “a gentleman’s game” and had instead become “a gambling den that was destroying a generation.”

“The game has no connect with patriotism any longer,” ran a comment in an editorial in Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana. It said that while the IPL might have brought fame and money to many new and hitherto impoverished cricketers, it had also “spurred a gambling and sex racket in the country.”

The IPL was “a reign of gamblers.” Players were not playing for the country but for sponsors and big business houses, it said.

“If the concept of IPL wasn’t lucrative business, then businessmen from Mukesh Ambani to Vijay Mallya and big names from Bollywood like Shahrukh Khan to Preity Zinta would not have invested in it,” said the edit, alleging that betting in cricket ran to thousands of crores of rupees.

Citing Sharad Pawar and Rajiv Shukla, the paper criticised politicians for their control over cricket. “The IPL is headed by Rajiv Shukla of the Congress. He cannot shrug off his responsibility so easily,” the paper said.

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