The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)
Cook wants life bans for fixers
CRICKET: Captain urges ICC to make punishment clear for transgressors
Alastair Cook has called on the International Cricket Council to institute mandatory life bans for all proven match-fixers.
The England captain, who will lead his team at Lord’s today in pursuit of a 3-0 whitewash over Sri Lanka in the Investec series, is highly likely to be facing rehabilitated spot-fixer Mohammad Amir back at HQ next month.
Amir has reportedly been granted a visa to return to England, and has been picked by Pakistan for this summer’s four-Test tour.
The left-armer’s presence in the first Test at Lord’s is sure to stir mixed feelings, at the venue where he agreed to bowl no-balls to order for financial gain on Pakistan’s 2010 tour, a crime for which he was jailed and served a fiveyear ban from all cricket.
Co-conspirators Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif will not be back.
Cook insisted he will welcome back Amir, who has shown outstanding form since his return to limited-overs action, but advocates no further leeway for anyone who transgresses.
“He has served (his punishment), so I’m perfectly happy for him to come back and play,” said Cook, who was the first of Amir’s wickets on the way to figures of six for 84 in that fateful Test.
“But in my opinion – now, because it’s become a bit more prevalent (in the number of known cases), the ICC should come out and say that if you are caught match-fixing you are banned for life.
“That’s what we should do to try and protect the game.”
At a time when cricket faces tougher competition than ever for a slice of the sports-viewing market, Cook believes it cannot afford to be tolerant of those who put it in peril.
It is therefore crucial, he claims, that life bans are implemented.
“I just think if there’s one way to try and deter it, it is to have the biggest punishment possible – you should be banned from cricket for life, and if everyone knows that then it’s very black and white,” he said.
“You don’t want something in the back of your mind saying ‘that doesn’t feel right’. That’s not what sport is about.”
England are set to field an unchanged team against Sri Lanka following last week’s series-sealing victory at Chesterle-Street, preferring seamer Steven Finn on his home ground to the uncapped Jake Ball.