Stop cheating - Cricket greats

2011-11-01 20:11

London - Cricket bodies and the sport's former greats called for renewed efforts to stamp out corruption after Tuesday's conviction of Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif for fixing parts of a Test match.

The Marylebone Cricket Club's Mike Brearley was among those to warn that the successful prosecution of the case against former captain Butt and bowler Asif does not allow authorities to relax their guard against corruption.

The MCC owns Lord's, the north London ground on which Asif and fellow bowler Mohammad Amir deliberately bowled no-balls in a betting scam.

"MCC believe that corruption is the biggest danger facing any sport, including cricket," MCC World Cricket Committee Chairman Brearley said. "The club believes that strong measures should be taken along the lines of deterrence, education, investigation and prevention at domestic and international cricket levels.

"It is also aware of the tentacles of menace and threat that can entrap young players."

With Pakistani players earning a fraction of that grossed by their superstar counterparts in India, that country's players are widely regarded as being especially susceptible to corruption.

The third player in the case, Mohammad Amir, was only 18 at the time of the Lord's Test and one of the hottest fast bowling prospects in world cricket. He admitted to conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments before his team-mates went on trial.

Now 19, banned from the sport and facing a possible prison sentence, Amir's professional career could be over.

"Corruption is an ongoing problem that needs persistence and vigour in all responsible bodies and leaders in the game in trying to combat it," Brearley said.

The England and Wales Cricket Board declined to comment in detail upon the case but reiterated its policy of zero tolerance toward corruption.

"Integrity and fair play are the foundations for any sporting contest," ECB Chief Executive David Collier said. "(The) ECB fully supports the work of the ICC Anti Corruption unit.

"We have established a unit at Lord's to both educate players and officials and seek to protect the integrity of the sport, and we hope that criminal proceedings will act as a strong and firm deterrent to complement this work."

The International Cricket Council created its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit in response to the incidents. Widespread corruption is widely believed to have been stamped out, but isolated cases such as the Pakistan case still occur.

"It leaves a cloud over Pakistan cricket," former England all-rounder Ian Botham said. "It's up to Pakistan and you've got to address your own problems. You can't keep sweeping it under the carpet. You know it's there - do something about it."

That view was endorsed by former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, who said on the social networking site, Twitter, that fixing extended as far as umpires and administrators.

"The punishment - sentenced by UK courts - will be a turning point in my view. Hope this message to all fixers is loud and clear now," Modi wrote, adding that "all administrators, players and people connected with the game should assist in any match / spot fixing inquiry. Not put it under the carpet."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan expressed his hope that players found guilty of fixing would be jailed.

Writing on Twitter, Vaughan said: "Historic day for all UK sports.. Message... Take bungs... Get caught... Serve time... Simple..."