After yet another fixing scandal rocking Pakistan cricket, former captain, Imran Khan, spoke about the prevailing condition of the sport in the country in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN's Editor-in-Chief, Rajdeep Sardesai.
Following are the excerpts:
On allegations of spot-fixing
I read the 'News of The World' article and if the article is true, this has severe repercussions for cricket. The players were caught in a sting operation. This is exactly what happened with Hansie Cronje (the late South Africa skipper) — caught by chance. Cricket fans must be wondering how much of this is going on.
On investigations into fixing charges
The Pakistan cricket authorities should have followed it right through. Once the inquiry had started, they should not have relented. I remember telling the PCB then to set an example for the future generations; don't allow it to just hang on. I am afraid they never did that. So, the Pakistan team played with match-fixing allegations for almost a decade in the nineties. It's the failure of the authorities.
On life ban for tainted players
I think the ICC is going to take a decision on this. In my opinion, the message should go across that crime does not pay. For spot-fixing, they should be imposed a heavy fine and not a life ban. It really should set an example. For a team that deliberately throws a match, there should be nothing but a life ban. But if someone is indulging in spot-betting, which does not affect the outcome of the game, they should suffer financially and be imposed a limited ban.
On imposing a ban against Pakistan
Why should Pakistan cricket be banned? What has Pakistan cricket got to do with this?
If an Indian cricketer indulges in shoplifting, would you ban the whole team? It's a crime and the criminal should be punished but the game of cricket must go on. You can't allow Pakistan cricket to suffer for these guys. The anger and demoralisation in Pakistan is far more than in any other country.
On punishment for the players named
I cannot comment until the allegations are proved. The punishment has to wait until the investigation is complete. Players who fix a match should get life ban, for lesser crime, some lesser punishment.
If it is proved that they had thrown the match in Sydney, anyone involved, even the entire team, should be banned for life.