Karachi: Pakistan`s former cricket captain Imran Khan on Monday pleaded for the cricketers accused in the spot-fixing controversy in England to be given a fair chance to clear their names, but said if the allegations came out true it would be a "big setback".
"I think the initial impact of this new fixing scandal has shocked all of us but I think in all fairness it would be injustice to brand these players as fixers without first giving them a fair chance to defend themselves," Khan said.
"I would like to see them given a fair chance to give their side of the story before we reach conclusions," the former cricketer turned politician said.
Imran was also clear that if the players were found guilty of accepting bribes then they should not be spared and given strong punishment.
"But first let`s be clear about this whole thing because it is not fair to jump to conclusions".
Imran had no doubt that if the allegations against the players were proved true it would be a great tragedy for Pakistan cricket.
"It would be a big setback because we will lose many of our match winners and that definitely would be a big shock to our cricket," he added.
The former captain who led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 World Cup also feared that if there was truth in the fresh fixing allegations it would have a negative impact on cricket on the whole.
"It would be difficult to draw in crowds and make people believe it was a fair cricket match being played anywhere in the world," he said.
Ironically today another former captain and great, Javed Miandad urged the Pakistan board to call back the players from England who have been accused of fixing.