Graeme Swann wants life ban for tainted Pakistan trio

Graeme Swann said he developed disliking for Salman Butt even before the spot-fixing scandal emerged Getty Images

By CricketCountry Staff

London: Nov 2, 2011

England spinner Graeme Swann slammed the tainted Pakistan trio Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer for indulging in malicious activities and bringing bad name to the game.

Swann said in his autobiography ‘The Breaks Are Off that the then Pakistan captain, Butt riled him throughout their Test series in 2010 and said ‘aloof and arrogant are the best words to describe him.

Butt and Asif were declared guilty to spot-fixing by a London court on Tuesday, while Aamer had reportedly pleaded guilty.

The court is expected to sentence all three up to seven years in prison.

Swann said he had developed a disliking for Butt even before the scandal emerged, and requested the International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO Haroon Lorgat to ban all three cricketers for life.

Swann wrote in his book, “I was irritated when the ICC’s anti-corruption tribunal meted out only five-year bans to the trio, with extra terms suspended for Butt and Asif.”

“If that is the level of punishment, what is the deterrent? The problem will never go away unless life bans are handed out. Some made excuses for Amir because he was only 18 when he transgressed. Age can never be an excuse. Amir was playing for his country at full international level and, when you do that, you have to be a grown man,” he wrote.

“The ICC have promoted a zero-tolerance policy on match-fixing yet the length of the bans appeared to have been tailored so they can play again. Well, let them find another game. Tell them to play chess, just keep them away from cricket,” Swann wrote.

“The way Salman Butt carried himself rubbed me up the wrong way. Aloof and arrogant are the best descriptions of him. What made my dismissal of him in the Lord’s Test all the more satisfying was that he pompously refused to leave the field despite being bowled.

“We knew the TV replays would confirm his fate and I really enjoyed standing in our huddle taking the mickey out of him.”

The England off spinner revealed that nobody from the England team wanted to continue playing in the series.

“It was vile information to digest. The next morning was the most bizarre atmosphere in which I’ve played international cricket. We just didn’t know how to celebrate. None of us spoke to the opposition. We just couldn’t wait to get off the field — we just wanted to wash our hands off the series,” he said.

“The after-match presentation was held away from the public glare and we just grabbed our winners’ medals and cheques and got out of there. Ill-feeling spilled into the one-day series when Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt accused us of losing the third match for cash.

“It was just so pathetic and offensive. The comments went against everything I stand for as a professional sportsman. You can’t go around accusing people with completely unsubstantiated claims. I for one didn’t want to play on. I lobbied that we should refuse to play the final two matches of the series because I felt playing them would be kowtowing to this clown.”

“Andrew Strauss was of the same opinion prior to his meeting with the ECB and the Professional Cricketers’ Association and Eoin Morgan was particularly vehement. We released a team statement expressing our disgust at Butt’s comments, while our employers demanded an unreserved apology and retraction. Strauss eventually persuaded us that playing on was the right thing for the good of the world game.”