Cricket

Lamb: Life bans for fixing

2010-08-29 17:36
Allan Lamb (Gallo Images)

London - Any Pakistan player found guilty of match-fixing during the fourth Test against England at Lord's should be banned for life, former England batsman Allan Lamb suggested on Sunday.

Lamb's comments came after the arrest of a 35-year-old man on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers following allegations in the News of the World that a number of Pakistan players were involved in cheating.

The tabloid allegations centre on the timing of no-balls delivered during the match.

Undercover reporters from the paper allegedly paid a middleman £150 000 and the newspaper claims in return they were told exact details relating to play during the following day.

Lamb, interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live, said: "If any player is caught, they've got to be life banned.

"We've got to wait until the police investigation, who are the guilty parties, and the people caught have got to be banned for life.

"Cricket has to go on, it can't just stop - we've got to get rid of the people involved, life ban them, and the game has to go on."

Lamb insisted the controversy does not diminish England's efforts in turning the game around from a position of peril at 102 for seven in their first innings.

Centurions Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad combined for a world-record eighth-wicket stand of 332, and Lamb said: "The big thing is I don't think the no-balls affected the game, England have fairly and squarely got into the position to beat Pakistan.

"I think they've played very good cricket and got back into game with a magnificent partnership.

"(But) it's taken all the efforts by England and it's under a dark cloud. People will say, 'That record-breaking partnership, it can't really count because were the bowlers trying?'.

"It's such a bad thing. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth."

Former Australia captain Richie Benaud, a longstanding columnist for the News of the World, said the incident was reminiscent of the betting scandal involving the late former South Africa skipper Hansie Cronje "which brought cricket to its knees a decade ago".

Benaud, writing in the News of the World, added: "Sadly the people who now taint a great sport have become far more sophisticated in their ability to make dirty money out of the game.

"The ICC (International Cricket Council) and the administrators in various countries must act fast, otherwise cricket is at real peril."

Meanwhile former England captain Michael Vaughan wrote on social networking site Twitter: "Anger is my thought at the moment.

"I don't see how they can get out of this one ... it's just a great shame why this has to happen. Very sad."

But fellow ex-England skipper Nasser Hussain admitted to mixed emotions, telling Sky Sports: "If (the allegations) were to be proven, a part of me says 'good, about time' because there have been allegations out there for a long time.

"Maybe it's about time something was done, if there were substantial proof then maybe it's about time, let's get on with cleaning the game up."

However, he added: "Part of me says you've got to make a statement, and say: 'Right, ban for life'. If you come down tough maybe it says to everyone, 'Don't get involved, that's the end of your career'.

"But another part of me says, 'Should you give a person another chance?'.

"Let's give all these guys the benefit of doubt that they deserve."

With the media camped outside, the Pakistan team emerged from their north London hotel to make the short journey by coach to Lord's ahead of the fourth day of the fourth and final Test at around 08:50 GMT.

The ICC had earlier confirmed play on Sunday would go ahead as scheduled.

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