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Imran pained at jail sentence for Pak cricketers

cricket Updated: Nov 03, 2011 17:42 IST

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Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan on Thursday said he was pained to hear the news of Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer being jailed for fixing parts of a Test match against England.

Pakistan former Test captain Butt, 27, received 30 months, fast bowler Asif, 28, received one year in jail and 19-year-old Aamer was jailed for six months.

Butt and Asif were found guilty on Tuesday of deliberately bowling three no-balls during the Lord's Test in August 2010 as part of a "spot-fixing" betting scam uncovered by Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World.

Aamer and players's agent Mazhar Majeed, sent down for 32 months, had already pleaded guilty to involvement in the scam.

Khan said it was painful to listen to the news.

"It is painful to listen (to) the news as a former Pakistan cricketer and I feel really sorry for their families," Khan, who was on a political meeting here, told AFP.

"In a way I also feel sorry for these cricketers because they are from Pakistan where there are massive corruption cases against president (Asif Zardari) and they must have thought crime pays," said Khan, who now heads his political party -- Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice).

Khan said the punishments are a wake-up call for Pakistan cricket.

"The verdict is a wake-up call for Pakistan cricket and from now on we should be ultra careful and, like we did in the past, should never allow the corruption to set in," said Khan, who led Pakistan to their only World Cup win in 1992.

Khan criticised the previous cricket boards for sweeping the matter under the carpet.

"We should not hide behind the justification that it (fixing) happens in international cricket. It does happen, but Pakistan should set its house in order first and anyone involved should be punished," said Khan.

Khan said he always felt sorry for Aamer.

"I always felt sorry for Aamer," said Khan, himself a great fast bowler. "He may have been influenced by the atmosphere around him, secondly he was the best young fast bowler and for the fact that he came out with a confession," said Khan.