x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Calls for serious efforts to wipe out fixing and corruption in cricket

Botham feels the ICC should have given lifetime bans to trio because it is a pretty "big sin".

Kumar Sangakkara tries to keep his focus on his cricket at the Sharjah Stadium.
Kumar Sangakkara tries to keep his focus on his cricket at the Sharjah Stadium.

The Sri Lanka team manager yesterday called for corruption-free cricket to sustain the interest in the game as three Pakistan players await sentence in a spot-fixing scandal.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - and agent Mazhar Majeed - are due to receive their sentences at a court in London.

"I think any form of corruption in the game should be dealt with seriously and eradicated so that the interest in the game is sustained," Anura Tennekoon said.

Tennekoon, 65, said followers of the game will lose interest if corruption exists.

"I think if corruption is not wiped off then the followers of this beautiful game will be lost, so from the point of safeguarding the game people who are playing the game as well authorities of the game should wipe out corruption," Tennekoon said.

Tennekoon, who captained Sri Lanka in the first World Cup in 1975, said the matter should be seriously dealt.

"We need to deal with this matter seriously, and I am hopeful that it will be done," said Tennekoon, who is managing the team in the UAE for the three-Tests, five one-day and a Twenty20 international against Pakistan.

Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lankan captain, refused to talk about the case while the Pakistan team have also stayed away from making any comments.

However, Naushad Ali, the manager, said there was a proper system in place to deal with future corruption. "On the directives of ICC (International Cricket Council) we have a training schedule for youngster who are coming in, first class cricket and international cricket, we educate them on how to deal with corruption and fixing," he said.

"On this tour (UAE) we have a security manager who looks after these affairs. Not only security he looks into the anti-corruption as well."

Ian Botham, the former England all-rounder, echoed the widespread calls for the Pakistan trio's bans to be extended to life. "There have to be deterrents," he said.

"If there are no deterrents and everyone just sits on their hands and pretends it is not happening it will continue.

"We will see what the judge thinks of it and I think that will be a benchmark. I believe these guys are in a lot of trouble. I think they [the ICC] issued five-year bans but it is more serious than that.

"These guys knew what they were doing. Now is the time to act, and if it means lifetime bans then so be it. In other sports you get lifetime bans and I think in match fixing you are cheating yourself, the team your playing for, the teams you playing against and more importantly the public. It is a pretty big sin."

* Agencies