India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday said that cricket has been brought to "disrepute" by the 'spot-fixing' scandal and the guilty should be handed harsh punishment as such incidents tend to also paint other players in bad light.
"It's sad. Investigations are going on. Something like this, match fixing or spot fixing, it brings disrepute to the game," Dhoni said when asked about the 'spot-fixing' scandal in England involving the Pakistan cricket team.
"It does not only restrict to the people who are doing it or the side they belong to. I think people start associating it with the whole fraternity which means all cricketers whichever team you are playing for, it doesn't really matter," he said.
"At times what happens, if there is a game which is a low scoring game then people are thinking it may be a fixed game. When you work so hard on a field then that's one thing you don't really want. You don't want somebody to comment that the match was fixed or whatever," he told NDTV.
Asked whether harsh punishments should be handed to the three Pakistani players if they are found guilty, Dhoni said, "I would agree with that definitely because as I said it doesn't restrict the opinion to you. So definitely harsh decisions need to be taken."
Dhoni said any player guilty of match fixing should be kept "as far away from cricket as possible" as their wrongdoings could put paid to the hard work done by other cricketers.
"You work so hard for it. Everyday you go to the gym or to a field, the net sessions. The travelling, the amount of pressure you have to go through and then after that you achieve something remarkable and people come up with those kind of words it can be really disheartening. So let's try to keep those four five should be kept as far away from cricket as possible," he said.
Dhoni said he is never worried that something like match fixing could happen in Indian team as the players value the pride of playing for the country more than the money.
"I don't think so. Never, no one has ever told me that someone approached them," Dhoni said.
"Players are well motivated. The kind of effort we put in the field, I can't even think about it (match fixing). At the end of the day what's the money all about. There's a bracket on money, after that whatever money you earn you'll still eat the same, go in the same car," Dhoni said.
"All cricketers come from middle class backgrounds so they are aware of situation. I think most of them want to play for the country, get the fame out of it. They are clever enough to know that money is bound to come if you are playing cricket for India.
"I believe the struggle they go through in the starting phase of their career teaches them really well and that they don't think about the money," he said.
"You have already gone through the harsh part of life, travelled through sleeper class and at times in a bus with no reservation or nothing. I feel most of the cricketers go through it. I don't think anything like that will happen in the Indian team," he added.