London: England batsman Jonathan Trott said on Saturday that he'd never wanted to witness anything like the 'spot-fixing' row now engulfing Pakistan after growing up in South Africa during the Hansie Cronje scandal.
Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif have all been provisionally suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) following reports in Britain's News of the World tabloid that they'd conspired to deliberately bowl no-balls during last week's fourth Test against England at Lord's as part of a betting scam.
The trio have all been interviewed as part of a separate police inquiry into the matter but have since been released without charge and all three players have denied any wrongdoing.
Trott, who made 184 at Lord's and shared a world record eighth-wicket stand of 322 with Stuart Broad in a match England won to take the series 3-1, told on Saturday's edition of the Sun tabloid: "Even now, a week later, I find it all so hard to digest, let alone understand."
"I guess some people might be tempted to shrug and say, 'Oh but it's only a few no-balls, what does it matter?' But it matters a great deal. This is the slippery slope and we don't want to go there," he added in the interview with the Sun, sister paper of the News of the World.
"The reputation of cricket is at stake and there must be a thorough investigation into these allegations."
The 29-year-old Trott, born and raised in South Africa, was a teenager when late South Africa captain Cronje was banned for life in 2000 after he confessed to taking money from bookmakers in return for fixing matches.
"When I was growing up in South Africa, I saw what happened to Hansie Cronje," Trott said.
"I have very bad memories of that time. I was a young player trying to break through and the whole thing really shocked me. I remember seeing him break down, crying on TV. It was such an emotional moment," Warwickshire batsman Trott added.
"He was the leader of the nation coming out of international isolation, so he was such an inspiration to me. But then seeing him crash from the summit of the game to the absolute depths was awful. He ended up a broken man and I remember asking myself how people got involved in that type of thing," remarked Trott.
"I just know it is totally against everything I believe in and have worked for. I love cricket and I have sacrificed a lot to make it to this level and I'm determined to stay there. And I am too competitive, too much of a winner to ever be tempted to take any liberties."
Trott stressed the shadow cast over the Lord's Test should not detract from his and Broad's hundreds.
"The experts were all saying what great bowlers these guys (Amir and Asif) are and they were right. Even if these allegations are proven, they should not be allowed to tarnish what we did at Lord's," added Trott, in England's squad for the upcoming five one-day internationals against Pakistan but not selected for the preceding Twenty20 matches.
England are due to face Pakistan in the first of the two Twenty20s, both in Cardiff, on Sunday.