Life bans for fixing the only way to rid game of scourge

Andy Lloyd
AT some point during the looming Cricket World Cup there will be an unusual result; a minnow will beat one of the big teams, or someone will claw back from an impossible position. The immediate reaction among some people will be: it’s a fix. And for that I blame the International Cricket Council.

The game’s governing body had the perfect chance over the weekend to show that corruption will absolutely not be tolerated. They found Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir (right) guilty of involvement in spot-fixing, and gave the Pakistan trio bans ranging from five to 10 years.

Why the different levels of ban? If a player is guilty of that kind of offence then I don’t think they should be allowed
to play cricket ever again. For me, that’s not draconian.

The stench of corruption has been polluting the game for some time now and unless really, really drastic action is taken then fixing will rear its head again.

People may get banned temporarily for drug-taking, and are then rehabilitated into the game. But I see fixing as far more damaging to cricket; it’s tantamount to fraud.

Nothing less than the future of the game is at stake here.

Sure, events like the Ashes series don’t have trouble attracting big crowds but there wasn’t so much demand for the subsequent 50-over matches. Crowds won’t come if they don’t believe they are seeing a fair sporting contest.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan recently remarked that this case represented a great chance for the ICC to demonstrate how serious they are about rooting out fixing for good. In my opinion, the action they have taken represents a cop-out.