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'Keep those words away'

India’s skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni explains why the allegations of match-fixing are the worst thing that can happen to cricket. HT Correspondent reports.

cricket Updated: Sep 07, 2010 01:18 IST
HT Correspondent

There's a video clip of Mahendra Singh Dhoni that you see repeatedly on TV. "For me the worst thing that can happen to a cricketer is the match-fixing allegation," says the Indian captain, and there's no-one in the cricket world who will disagree with that.

On the eve of his departure to South Africa to play for the Chennai Super Kings in the Champions League, Dhoni took time out to have a freewheeling chat with NDTV. Naturally, though, a lot of the talk centred around the spot-fixing scandal that has hit Pakistan cricket specifically, and the cricket world at large.

"It's sad. Investigations are going on and something like match fixing or spot fixing brings disrepute to the game," said Dhoni. "It's not only restricted to the people who are doing it or the side which they belong to. People start associating it with the whole fraternity."

Dhoni was also quick to point out that the credibility of the game takes a beating as a result. "At times, you know what happens, if there is a game which is a very low scoring game, people say it's really a fixed game," he explained. "As a cricketer you work so hard -- everyday you go to the gym, train or are travelling. The amount of pressure you go through and then sometimes achieve something which is remarkable. And when people come up with those kind of words. It can be really disheartening. So what we try to do is to keep those four five words as far away from cricket as possible."

Given the seriousness of the issue, Dhoni believed that "harsh decisions" had to be taken if anyone was found guilty, to ensure that cricket's reputation was not tarnished.

Dhoni also felt that Indian cricket was safe, because of what cricketers go through on their way to the top. "Most of our cricketers come from middle-class backgrounds and are aware of the situation. They clever enough to know that money is bound to come when you play for India," said Dhoni. "The struggle they go through in the initial phase of their career teaches them really well that you know don't think about the money first. We have already gone through the harsh part of life - travelling sleeper class on trains, at times on a bus with no reservations. Most cricketers have gone through that and I don't think anything like that (matchfixing) will happen in the Indian cricket team."

In his stint as Indian captain, no player has complained about such an unwanted approach. "Never … Never till now. I think it's representing the country that's more important," said Dhoni.

(Dhoni was in conversation with NDTV's Vikram Chandra)