Sharjah: Former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara on Friday said he was confident the court verdict of sending three Pakistani players to prison would help the game, saying any sort of fixing is intolerable.
Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt was handed a 30 months sentence, Mohammad Asif 12, Mohammad Aamer three and their agent Mazhar Majeed for 32 months respectively, for their roles in fixing last year's Test against England.
Sangakkara, in the first reaction by a player from either Pakistan or Sri Lanka - currently playing the third and final Test in Sharjah - said fixing has harmed the sport.
"Something like that does a lot of harm to the game. But, on the other hand, the decisions made during the trial, even though harsh, help the game to come out of it," Sangakkara told reporters.
The 34-year-old left-handed batsman, who notched 144 in Sri Lanka's first innings of 413, said fixing is intolerable.
"After this case we can say that we are doing something about it (fixing) and we don?t tolerate any sort of fixing, be it spot or match-fixing, or cheating," said Sangakkara, who has played against all three imprisoned cricketers.
Sangakkara said he felt for the families of the convicted trio.
"You have to feel some empathy because it has been very hard for the families, the supporters and the administrators of the game. But, unfortunately, the thing is that if you do the crime, you do the time and it's been proven that you cannot get away with things like that."
Sangakkara hoped the case served as a deterrent for the game and all those involved in it.
"From now on, it's a very good deterrent to players, administrators and people who watch the game and try and manipulate it that they cannot get away with it anymore."
Sangakkara said he would hate to be involved in a fixed match.
"When you play, you never get that feeling because you are always playing. I would hate to think that I've played in any game that we'd won because of that. I would rather hope that we won because we'd played better."
Sangakkara, under whose captaincy Sri Lanka lost the final of the World Twenty20 in England two years ago, with Aamer in the opposition, said Pakistan had always been competitive.
"We've always played very competitive cricket with Pakistan. It's been a very important tussle for us; for 25 years, they beat us once in the World Cup in 2011. They've always upped their game against us and I hope all of the games we played in were just that, games of very good cricket where the better side has won."
Sangakkara also hoped the reputation of the game will not suffer.
"I hope the reputation is not lost. I think it was damaged, but the rest of the cricketing world, be it players, supporters or administrators, have a big responsibility on their hands to do the right thing at all times."
"The players have to play to the best of their abilities on the field and ensure that they always play with respect to the game, the spectators and everyone around them who has given them the privilege of representing their countries."