Vettori: Ban cheats for life
Wellington - New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori said on Thursday any player caught cheating should be banned from cricket for life to protect the game's integrity.
Vettori's comment follow the suspension of three Pakistan players - captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif - for allegedly bowling deliberate no-balls in a Test against England at Lord's last month.
"If they are proved, those allegations, then it has to be the harshest possible (punishment) and that's a life ban," Vettori told Radio New Zealand.
The International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport's world governing body, has suspended Butt, Aamer and Asif pending further investigation after a British newspaper published the allegations of spot-fixing in the Lord's Test.
The News of the World reported it had paid an agent for several Pakistan players 150 000 pounds (230 000 dollars) for advance knowledge of no-balls in the Test, which could then be bet upon.
British police have since raided the Pakistan team's hotel and are investigating the matter.
New Zealand's Black Caps notched a dramatic Test win over Pakistan in Dunedin last December but Vettori said the spectre of cheating cast a shadow over all results, even if these were legitimate.
"Whenever incidents like (these) recently have come under the spotlight then people are going to question every single game that Pakistan played in," Vettori said.
"The key for cricket is to clean it up as quickly as possible, so that people don't turn up at the game and think there's something going on. Cricket needs to be squeaky clean."
Pakistan are scheduled to tour New Zealand in December.