Dharamsala: Adam Gilchrist has always been a staunch advocate - and example - of upholding the spirit of the game and playing it hard but fair, so it was no surprise to hear him call for exemplary punishment in the spot-fixing case if the trio of S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan was found guilty.
Shortly after leading Kings XI Punjab to a seven-run win over Delhi Daredevils on Thursday (May 16) night, a win that kept Punjab's playoff qualification hopes in the Pepsi IPL alive, Gilchrist said naivete or ignorance could no longer be used as an excuse, adding that should the three be proven guilty of spot-fixing, they should be banned from cricket for life. (Guilty to get strongest possible punishment, says Rajeev Shukla)
"Like everyone, I am very short on detail, I have only followed it through the press," Gilchrist, who tried making 'walking' fashionable, said. "So I must prefix this by saying if at all it is true, it is very, very sad. It's very disappointing. It's one of the most disrespectful things that anyone could do as a fellow cricketer. They are affording such disrespect to their peers by doing this. There is absolutely no excuse for this in this day and age. The talk of players being naive or not understanding of the ramifications, that is rubbish. Everyone is so well educated now. (Use Sachin, Dravid, Dhoni to educate players on corruption, says Gavaskar)
"For my mind, any player found involved in any implications where they are proven that they have handled illegal bookmakers' bets or whatever, there is no place for them in the game whatsoever ever again. It's so clear now, we are so knowledgeable on this, there is no excuse. So if proven guilty, the harshest penalty from a cricketing point of view should be applied and that's banned for life, I believe."
Gilchrist was one of the beneficiaries of Sreesanth's largesse, striking the boundary that allegedly helped the Rajasthan Royals paceman keep his bargain of conceding a pre-determined volume of runs in an over in exchange for money. "And it's just frightening - this is the closest that I ever know of, if it's true, that I have ever come to it (brush with spot-fixing). I hope they don't take those four runs off my tally off that Sreesanth over because I have scratched around all year, I value every run I have got this season," he joked, trying to lift the gravity somewhat, before quickly adding, "But yes, it's really sad - that's what it is."