Former Pakistan players feel that the recent spot-fixing scandal has further tarnished the image of the game of cricket and has rocked the ongoing Indian Premier League.
Former Test captain Zaheer Abbas told PTI that he was shocked by the scandal involving Indian player, S. Sreesanth and two others — Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.
“What worries me is that this apparently is just the tip of the iceberg as far as corruption in cricket is concerned.
There have always been fears that the IPL was a soft target for bookmakers but no one took this seriously,” he said.
He pointed out that the involvement of players in spot-fixing or any sort of corruption had badly tainted the image of the sport.
“It doesn’t matter which country you belong to but if you are corrupt you are causing irreparable damage to cricket.”
Abbas said that the spot-fixing scandal had only confirmed the fact that Asia had become a hotbed for cricket bookmakers and gamblers who were always out to lure and corrupt players.
“This menace is only increasing in Asia and everyone now needs to come out with strong legislation and measures to ensure this menace doesn’t spread further,” he added.
Former captain Wasim Bari blamed the influx of money into cricket as the primary reason for the growing greed among some players.
“It is shameful what has happened. It is a sad day that again we have a situation where players might be sent to jail for corruption.”
Bari said he was appalled that despite several measures taken by the ICC to educate players, there are some who still risk everything for a few bucks.
“This incident is not only a blot on the IPL but also on cricket as a whole,” he said.
Former wicketkeeper-batsman Moin Khan said cricket had suffered more damage with the latest spot-fixing scandal.
“It was bad enough when our players got involved and were penalised but now this incident only highlights that spot-fixing needs to be tackled very strongly by the authorities everywhere,” said Khan.
He said Sreesanth and company had brought shame on Indian cricket and the Indian team would feel the pressure of the scandal when they play in the Champions Trophy.
The former cricketers have warned their national team, presently in Scotland, to be very cautious and on guard after the incident. Abbas, Bari and Moin all cautioned the Pakistanis to be very careful during the Champions Trophy to be held in England in June.
“After this latest scandal the English media will be on the lookout to involve our players in some controversy, so even a little mistake could be disastrous for our team. Our players must be very careful with their movements and activities.”
Aamir Sohail said that the IPL spot-fixing has brought disrepute to the game.
“Cricket was known as the gentleman’s game but some players are only bringing in disrepute to the game because of their greed.”
Sohail said it was strange that till date the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit had not exposed any fixing incident.
“Whenever these scandals have been exposed they have been done by the media or police. What is the ACU doing?” he asked.
“It will be interesting to see how the ICC now handles this matter because according to them the IPL is an Indian domestic tournament,” Sohail added.
Former captain Rashid Latif said he was not surprised by the IPL scandal.
“The amount of money that is at stake in these T20 leagues around the world and particularly in the IPL, such incidents are bound to happen. You watch some matches and you definitely get a feeling, as a former player that something fishy is going on. I think this is not an isolated incident.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more players involved in such rackets,” said Latif.