Johannesburg: India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Monday refused to believe that cricket is no longer a clean sport in the wake of spot-fixing scandal and said commitment of all the cricketers around the world should not be questioned because of the misdeeds of a few individuals.
“Whatever has come up in cricket in the last few days are very demoralising for the game. It has brought disrespect to the game. But what I feel is that as a player you need to play cricket in the right spirit. You need to play the game clean and hard,” he said here.
“If a couple of players indulge in bad things that does not mean all players are corrupt. At the end of the cricket is bigger than any individual,” Harbhajan insisted.
Harbhajan, who is here to play the Champions League Twenty20 for Mumbai Indians, said that the recent scandal, involving three Pakistani players, has come as a golden opportunity to clean the rot which is existing in the game.
“It’s a great opportunity for all players to show cricket is clean and bigger than all other things,” he said.
Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were provisionally suspended by the ICC for their alleged role in spot-fixing.
During the Lord’s match, Asif and Aamir allegedly bowled three no-balls after taking bribes from a bookie. Mazhar Majeed following which they were provisionally suspended by the International Cricket Council.
He also said that it was wrong to point fingers on other players and teams because of a few corrupt individuals.
“Now people are questioning matches between other teams. I have heard that people are saying India-Sri Lanka series was also fixed. This is silly,” he said.
Harbhajan also came hard on his detractors who are pointing fingers on his personal form, saying “I will *** those fingers.”
Undeterred by the criticism, he said it was not uncommon in India to raise questions on a player’s form whenever he fails to deliver.
“I don’t need to answer anyone. I have always given my 100 per cent whenever I took the field. But there is a perception in India that if you don’t do well in a series people start questioning your abilities.
“I am not really bothered about all these. It’s their job, they get paid to criticise players. Let them do their job and I will do my job,” Harbhajan said.
“You can’t perform or take five wickets each and every day. There will be good times and there will be bad times in your career and you need to learn to cope up with bad times in a good way,” he added.
He also supported Muttiah Muralitharan who came in for sharp attack from former India spinner Bishen Singh Bedi, who called the retired Sri Lankan tweaker an ‘ordinary bowler’.
“Murali Sir you are a star and you will remain a star forever. Don’t bother what people say,” Harbhajan said.