‘Ban those guilty of spot-fixing’

Updated: Aug 30, 2010, 18:55 PM IST

London: Former cricket captains around the world on Monday reacted with shock and anger at the `spot-fixing` scandal involving Pakistani players and demanded life bans for the guilty to wipe out corruption from the sport.

Former captains from England, Australia and Pakistan condemned the situation after Pakistan captain Salman Butt, bowlers Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif were questioned by the police over allegations of `spot-fixing`.

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan raised doubts about the authenticity of next month`s ODI series between England and Pakistan if the accused players are selected.

"England will not want to play against them and the public will be suspicious of anything out of the ordinary. The matches would have no credibility as it has been alleged that two of the one-day internationals have been rigged already," Vaughan wrote.

"The game has to be cleaned up. This is the chance to change the game forever and stamp this kind of thing out. Finally, the game`s administrators cannot run and hide.”

"The only way the game will move forward is by hitting those involved with life bans if they are found guilty."

Angry at the Pakistani players, former England skipper Nasser Hussain said it is important to clear mess as soon as possible.

"I find it hard to believe that we`re just talking about a few no-balls," he wrote.

"I`m furious with Pakistan for going down this road again. My hope is that, if the allegations are true, the authorities are strong.”

"The depressing fact is we`re back to the sad, bad old days. The sooner they sort out this mess, the better for everyone," he said.

Another former English captain Mike Atherton felt the shifting of cricket`s power base to the Indian sub-continent has fuelled illegal bookmaking.

"Given the shift of cricket`s power to the east, given the way cricket is uniquely placed to offer betting opportunities, given that it is a game played by human beings and given that the governing body is weak, it is unlikely that an absolute end to corruption will come any time soon," he wrote.

Another former skipper Ian Botham was worried about the future of cricket and said the integrity of the game was at stake after this latest scandal.

"We need to see a swift investigation and with the evidence we`ve seen it surely can`t take too long to get things moving," he wrote.

"Then we need to see some appropriate action, not just have things fumbled around in a back room months later."

Former Pakistan skipper Ramiz Raja said the country has been let down by these players and the scandal will take a long time to heal.

"An entire generation has been left rudderless and hopeless by the acts of its favourite players and sons of Pakistani soil," he wrote.

"It is a disaster for cricket and at home it will take a long time for the wounds to heal. The players have let the country down. Those players must now be dealt with severely.”

"Mohammad Aamir... what a waste of talent... he was caught in a quick-fix mentality and will now pay the price. He will regret this for the rest of his life and the game has lost a great asset.”

"For them to do it at Lord`s, the Mecca of cricket, brings extreme shame and sadness," he said.

Pakistan`s World Cup winning captain Imran Khan expressed disappointment over the allegations and said the charges, if found true, had the potential to cause great damage to cricket in the country.

"I think it is a bit premature to make comments on such a sensitive issue but definitely if anyone is found guilty of wrong doing he should be given exemplary punishment," Imran told a news channel.

Imran said if the allegations are proved right then the players should be given exemplary punishment.

"The punishment should be such that it sends out a strong message to our future generation of cricketers that crime never pays," Imran said.

World cricket was rocked by a scandal yesterday when reports of spot-fixing emerged against Butt, Asif and Aamir and four other players, which led to the arrest of a bookie in London and questioning of the players by the Scotland Yard.

Scotland Yard detectives visited the Pakistan dressing room after the third day`s play to question the players.

Earlier in January, match-fixing allegations had surfaced during the Sydney Test between Pakistan and Australia, which the former lost from a winning positions.

Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal had dropped four catches, including three of Michael Hussey, scored an unbeaten 134 to help Australia win the match after trailing by more than 200 runs after the first innings.

The allegations were never proved as even the ICC gave the Sydney Test a clean chit but with this latest incident, former Australian skippers raised fresh doubts on the outcome of Pakistan`s Sydney Test in January.

"Obviously for them to lose that game they had to be one of two things: the worst test players of all time or the best match-fixers of all time," Chappell said in a newspaper.

However, Hussey feels Pakistan was not doing anything unusual during the Sydney Test and were infact toiling hard to get wickets.

"They were certainly going very hard to get the wickets out there. I didn`t think there was anything untoward going on," Hussey said.

His teammate Nathan Hauritz, who had returned with a match-winning five-wicket haul in the Sydney Test, said he was shocked to learn that the Pakistani players had allegedly thrown their wicket.

"It`s something that I wouldn`t have imagined happening, but if it has it`s a big shock," Hauritz said.

"If this has happened, it is so disappointing for cricket around the world. I`d like to think that we still won that Test fair and square, on the back of our bowling attack on that final day," he added.

Bookie Mazhar Majeed had claimed to the British Tabloid reporter that Pakistan batsmen threw away their wickets when they were bowled out for 139, chasing 176 against Australia in this year`s Sydney Test.

Former Pakistan captain and the Director General of the PCB, Javed Miandad has called for the replacement of the Pakistan`s entire cricket team for the rest of England Tour.

Miandad said that he is more than willing to accompany the new team to England and coach them ahead of the re maining two Twenty20 and five one-day internationals starting from next week.

“Players will not be in the right frame of mind and that they should be replaced with new players. I am willing to accompany the new team and coach them in the Twenty20 and one-day internationals,” Miandad said.