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By Julian Guyer
London: Jul 1, 2014
England all-rounder Stuart Broad called for all those found guilty of match-fixing to be given the same lifetime ban as handed down to former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent on Tuesday. The punishment, which was confirmed by the England and Wales Cricket Board, stems from one-day matches that Vincent admitted he helped rig in English county cricket.
His former Sussex team mate, Naveed Arif, was also banned for life last month after admitting similar corruption offences. Broad’s lone Test century, a superb innings of 169 against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010, was overshadowed by newspaper revelations that the Pakistani trio of then captain Salman Butt and pacemen Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were ready to take part in the deliberate bowling of no-balls in that match in return for cash.
All three were subsequently banned for a minimum of five years by the International Cricket Council. But Pakistani officials said last week they were hopeful left-arm seamer Aamer, now 22, might return to domestic cricket before his worldwide ban expires in September 2015 under a new draft clause in a revised ICC anti-corruption code. However, Broad said if he had his way, the Pakistani trio would not have a hope of a return, insisting that in the light of their case there was no excuse for “naivety” when it came to the issue of corruption.
“There’s no excuse now around awareness of match-fixing,” Broad said Tuesday at a news conference in London organised by sponsors Investec ahead of the forthcoming England-India Test series. ”We sit through the most boring of lectures saying ‘watch out for this’ or ‘watch out for that’, helplines and all that sort of thing. We have to do it through the ICC protocol,” the 28-year-old Nottinghamshire paceman explained.
“We do it before every World Cup and any new player who comes into the side gets called into an anti-corruption meeting. There’s no excuse for naivety any more so I don’t really see why it wouldn’t be a flat out life ban,” added Broad, the son of former England opener turned ICC match referee Chris Broad.
“That would scare a lot of people out of it, I’d hope. A five-year ban, a 10-year ban? I’d pretty much make it a flat-out lifetime ban if I was in control. But I’m not.” Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri, speaking alongside Broad, said he hoped his country would follow the example of other leading cricket nations, including England, in changing the law to make fixing a criminal offence. ”What India is pushing for in our country is to put something in the constitution that allows criminal prosecution,” Shastri said. ”So it’s not just a life ban. He should be sitting in the clink for seven, eight years. That would give any youngster the shivers.”, he added.
Butt, Asif and Aamer, together with their agent Mazhar Majeed, were jailed by an English court in 2011. The players were released in 2012. Earlier on Tuesday, Vincent admitted his guilt as he accepted the ECB ban, which will apply globally, by saying in a statement: “My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat.”
Meanwhile, with Vincent under investigation by police, New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White, while supporting the ECB ban, also said: “Unfortunately, and as has been well-documented over recent months, Mr Vincent is also involved in a different capacity with a British police investigation. As such NZC is unable to comment on matters which might yet need to be tested in a court of law.”
Meanwhile ICC chief executive David Richardson, in “endorsing” the ECB’s move, said the global governing body had a “zero-tolerance approach towards corruption”. But with Vincent confessing his wrongdoing, the former South Africa wicketkeeper added the ICC “commend him for having the courage to finally tell the truth and to cooperate with the investigations”.
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