BBC Sport cricket


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Monday, 30 August 2010 12:52 UK

Pakistan face calls for life bans on spot-fixing claims

Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif
Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif are all in the spotlight

Former Pakistan skipper Imran Khan says swift action must be taken against anyone found to have been part of the alleged no-ball conspiracy at Lord's.

"If these allegations are true then there should be exemplary punishment," he told BBC World Service.

Past captains from both England and Pakistan have called for life bans if the allegations are proved.

And former International Cricket Council chief Malcolm Speed believes the ICC may ban Pakistan from cricket.

Bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, captain Salman Butt and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal have been questioned by police over claims Amir and Asif bowled no-balls against England in the final Test at pre-determined times as part of a betting conspiracy.

If the players are found guilty they should be shunted out of the team

Imran Khan

Meanwhile, investigators from Pakistan are flying to London to examine the allegations for themselves.

Pakistan departed for Taunton on Monday ahead of a fixture against Somerset on Thursday, but the two Twenty20 matches against England which follow and a five-match one-day series that is scheduled to begin on 10 September remain in doubt.

Imran believes the tour must continue even if some of the Pakistan team are guilty.

"Why should the fans suffer? If the players are found guilty they should be shunted out of the team [and] replaced by others," he said.

But Speed, who served as ICC chief between 2001 and 2008, disagrees.

"I think that suspension [of the team] is an option. It is serious," said Speed.

"It looks as though it is endemic that several of the team members are involved and have been for some time. So perhaps they need a rest," he said.

Imran Khan
Imran was a spectator at Pakistan's loss to Australia at Lord's in July

The ICC's anti-corruption unit is already investigating Pakistan's tour to Australia in December and January, which included a suspicious result in the final Test in Sydney when Pakistan lost from a dominant position amid a flurry of dropped catches.

In particular, doubts were raised about Akmal, who dropped four catches and missed an easy run-out at Sydney, with coach Intikhab Alam, since replaced by Waqar Younis, saying he was "flabbergasted" by the errors.

The tourists were whitewashed in both the Test and one-day series down under.

England's victory at Lord's on Sunday wrapped up a 3-1 series victory, but skipper Andrew Strauss believes a considered decision must be made before the two sides meet again.

"I honestly think the best thing is to let the dust settle. It is easy to get emotional about these things at the moment," stated Strauss.

"There will be some very strong reasons for the series to go ahead. But they are also going to have to think about what the right thing to do is going forward."

Several of Strauss's predecessors have called for life bans for any player found guilty.

"The game has to be cleaned up. This is the chance to change the game forever and stamp this kind of thing out," said former England captain Michael Vaughan.

I would suspend those named in the report immediately

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja

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

Nasser Hussain, who led the side between 1999 and 2003, doubts that any corruption would have been limited to just one aspect of the team's play.

"I find it hard to believe that we're just talking about a few no-balls," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

"I'm furious with Pakistan for going down this road again.

"My hope is that, if the allegations are true, the authorities are strong."

Former Pakistan skipper Ramiz Raja alleges that match-fixing was a problem amongst some of his international team-mates in the mid-1990s and has not been fully eradicated since.

Salim Malik, one of Raja's one-time team-mates, and medium pace bowler Ata-ur Rehman had life bans for match-fixing rescinded in 2008 and 2007.

"Those players must now be dealt with severely. I would suspend those named in the report immediately to tell the world we mean business," said Raja.

Print Sponsor

see also
Spot-fixing scandal: the key figures
01 Sep 10 |  England
Players have case to answer - ICC
03 Sep 10 |  England
England finish off tarnished Test
29 Aug 10 |  England
Cricket's fight against fixing
29 Aug 10 |  Cricket
Malik guilty of match-fixing
24 May 00 |  Cricket

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites