'ICC should act tough on corrupt players post spot-fixing row'

'ICC should act tough on corrupt players post spot-fixing row'

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, and pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir along with the trio's agent Mazhar Majeed were sentenced to varying prison terms by a London court yesterday after they were found guilty in a spot-fixing scandal that came to light last year.

Butt, 27, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years while Asif, 28, and 19-year-old Amir received 12 and six-month terms respectively.

Australia vice-captain Shane Watson felt that life bans should be handed out to corrupt cricketers.

"In the end, I think a life ban is surely enough to be able to say to people that it's the wrong thing to do. It's challenging the integrity and taking the game of cricket down," said Watson.

"Whether it's jail, whether it's a life [playing] sentence, there's no doubt that the punishments are very severe for doing the wrong thing. Since I first started playing, you know that if you do something wrong in that regard you won't be playing cricket ever again," he said.

The burly all-rounder said the Pakistani trio has got the deserved treatment for its actions.

"It's very disappointing when you see the things that have happened in England with the Pakistan guys and, in the end, they deserve the punishment that they do get because they've done the wrong thing in a big way. "For me personally, it's given me an amazing life and something I only ever dreamed of, so I would never would want to do anything that even questioned the ability for me to be able to play the game that I love so much," Watson told Australian Associated Press.

Players' Union chief Tim May and former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds warned that convictions alone would not clean up the sport and the ICC needs to do more.
"There's concern that the practice of spot-fixing and other types of fixing still appear to be prevalent in our game, despite the millions spent by ICC on education and the creation of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU)," May told 'Fox Sports'.
"(There's) sadness that three young cricketers will face jail time, but satisfaction that the prosecution has been able to identify corruption and deliver a loud and clear message to players of all sports - that if you are caught cheating the integrity of sport, you will be prosecuted and face severe penalties."

May said the best way to deal with the menace of fixing is to educate players.
"We need to ensure that cricket's anti-corruption unit functions effectively and has access to the respective tools and information that can identify those who seek to harm our game," May said.

Symonds said he always felt that match-fixing happened in cricket.
"When I was playing, we were always of the opinion that it was going on. Something needed to be done about it. I don't think people are going to think that's the end of it," he said.

"Hopefully, it gets stamped out through this and it's an ongoing process and we can slowly weed it out of this game," he added. PTI Team PM MRM MRM 11041500

Former Australian batsman Mark Waugh said sending players to jail would set an example for others.

"Whilst it's particularly tough, probably on the youngest guy Mohammad Amir, I think they had to get jail time," said Waugh, who had his own brush with bookies long time back when he was fined by Cricket Australia for supplying information on weather and pitch.
"It is severe when you think someone is going to pay for it because it (jail terms) hasn't happened in the past. The captain, he's the guy who has orchestrated it. It (Butt's penalty) probably should have been longer," he said.

England skipper Andrew Strauss, said the convictions should not result any ill-feeling for the Pakistani players when the two countries meet for a series in January.
Several British players such as Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann have made their resentment public.

"Strauss himself has described corruption as a "cancer" in cricket, but will try to make sure his players remain focused on beating Pakistan without distractions. He will hold a team meeting at the start of the tour in the New Year and spell out the need to avoid any simmering rifts," a media report said.