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Kevin Pietersen: Ban cricket’s spot-fixers for life

England batsman says guilty players should be ostracised, praises IPL crowds

Gulf News

Dubai: When it comes to corruption in cricket, Kevin Pietersen is unequivocal — ban guilty parties for life.

The England star is one of the top attractions at the annual Indian Premier League (IPL), when the sport is at its most glamorous and family-friendly.

But, while the Delhi Daredevils player missed the 2013 edition due to injury, scandal engulfed the league as Rajasthan Royals players S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested on charges of spot-fixing, with Chennai Super Kings owner Gurunath Meiyappan and his father-in-law — BCCI president N. Srinivasan — later also embroiled.

“My views are very clear: If they get caught, finish them for life,” Pietersen told Gulf News on Thursday. “I’ve got no interest in any of that nonsense.

“I love the game of cricket and anyone who tries to mess with it or cheat it or take things away from it doesn’t deserve to have the privilege that we have of playing this great game.”

Asked if he had ever seen anything untoward at a cricket match, the 33-year-old said: “Not a chance, no way — they know what they would probably get from me.”

Pietersen enjoyed great success in the IPL, with his attacking style well suited to the fast-paced action. And the former Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers player insists the adoration he receives in India is mutual.

“I love the IPL, what they’ve done in India with that tournament is pretty special. All the players love it — it’s fantastic to play in,” he said. “It’s really fast, fun and the fans love it — we get full houses in every single game, especially there in Delhi.

“The support we’ve got is brilliant. But I suppose you could say the same for every team, it’s incredible. It’s sensational, you get a whole crowd of 60,000 people chanting your name every time you walk on to the field — it’s one of the best feelings you can ever have.”

While playing in India, Pietersen has crossed paths with two of the greatest batsmen ever to play the game in the shape of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. And the Englishman is full of respect for the pair of them.

“Both of them are absolutely brilliant,” he said. “I’ve had such an incredible honour and privilege playing with Rahul Dravid for a few seasons in Bangalore. What a great man. I speak to him occasionally, he’s helped me with my game tremendously.

“And Sachin is just an absolute superstar. What he’s done for the game of cricket all over the world, he deserves every single accolade.”