Suraj Randiv's deliberate no-ball to Virender Sehwag, which denied the Indian opener a hundred in their tri-series ODI match last night, came in for sharp criticism by former players who felt the Sri Lankan spinner's antics were "unsporting and unpardonable".
While iconic all-rounder and former World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev chose to remain mum on the issue, others such as Syed Kirmani and Ajit Wadekar felt Randiv's actions have set a bad precedent.
"On certain things, I do not want to react. It is not worth talking about. Some players are playing the game in their own ways. To me, it is important that India won the match. Sehwag deserves appreciation for the manner in which he handled the situation in scoring the 99-run knock," Kapil said.
Former stumper Kirmani said cricket's reputation as a gentleman's game is getting tarnished due to acts such as these.
"These days, no team appreciates an opponent's good knock or good work with the ball. The game is played like a war between the teams. It is not in the spirit of the gentlemanly game," Kirmani said.
"Sehwag was magnanimous in his comments. To many followers of the game, including myself, it looked like unsporting behaviour by Randiv. I would not have done it. Randiv was bowling well and he is a capable bowler. He had the ability to take Sehwag's wicket and delay the proceedings instead of bowling a no ball," he added.
A disgusted Sehwag later criticised Randiv in the post-match press conference but the matter seems to have been settled amicably after Sri Lanka Cricket and Randiv offered apologies for the incident.
But Kirmani felt such unsporting acts should not be forgiven.
"I do not know whether it was a team strategy, if it is, it is an unpardonable act," he said.
Former all-rounder Madan Lal and ex-captain Ajit Wadekar echoed the sentiment.
"It's not cricket. That's not fair, not done in cricket. But a no-ball is a no-ball and the umpire had to declare it. It comes first and the ball becomes dead. Poor chap, Sehwag. He deserved a hundred," said Wadekar.
"I do not like teams to behave like that in matches. To me, it looked like a deliberate attempt. I appreciate Sehwag for the bold manner in which he remained not out to give India the important victory. However, Suraj Randiv's actions were in bad taste and it could affect the future matches of tri-series," felt Madan Lal.