London, Sep 2: Describing the Indian Premier League (IPL) as too powerful for the good of world cricket, England legend Ian Botham has called for an end to the star-studded tournament. According to Botham, the lucrative tournament has given a filip to betting and match fixing and has increased the level of corruption in the game.(Read:Cricket betting racket busted in Hyderabad, four held)

The former England captain also asserted that the formidable financial muscle of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has ensured that some players have shifted their priorities from representing their country to pocketing exorbitant salaries in the IPL. “I’m worried about the IPL — in fact, I feel it shouldn’t be there at all as it is changing the priorities of world cricket. Players are slaves to it. Administrators bow to it.

“How on earth did the IPL own the best players in the world for two months a year and not pay a penny to the boards who brought these players into the game? “I know this has been modified to a degree, but it is still an imbalance. The IPL is too powerful for the long-term good of the game,” Botham was quoted as saying by cricinfo.

“Corruption is enough of a problem in itself, but the IPL compounds that problem given it provides the perfect opportunity for betting and therefore fixing.” The IPL has been at the centre of a corruption scandal with Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals being banished from the tournament after their owners were found to be involved in betting on the outcome of matches.

Although a few players have been banned due to their links with bookies, Botham — who was speaking at the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture here on Tuesday — felt that the International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to do more in order to curb the menace of corruption and match fixing. “We have seen a few players exposed, but does throwing the odd second XI player into jail solve it? To kill the serpent, you must cut off its head. The ICC anti-corruption unit must pursue the root of the problem and if necessary expose the big names,” the legendary all-rounder asserted.