Pakistan players will be under strict vigil in England
KARACHI: Pakistan vowed Friday to keep its cricketers under a strict vigil in England to avoid any repeat of a 2010 spot-fixing scandal that resulted in bans and jail for three players.
An undercover reporter of the now defunct News of the World exposed former captain Salman Butt along with pacemen Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer in a scandal that shook the cricket world during Pakistan's tour of England.
The three players agreed to be part of deliberate no-balls at the Lord's Test against England in August 2010 in return for money in a deal brokered between the reporter and their agent Mazhar Majeed.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned three players for a minimum of five years and the trio was jailed by a British court in 2011.
Aamer pleaded guilty during the trial, but appeals from Butt and Asif were last week rejected by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sports.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf said strict measures would be in place when the team compete in the eight-nation Champions Trophy in June.
"What mistakes we committed last time will not be repeated," Ashraf told journalists when asked to comment on reports that a vigilance officer would accompany the team to England.
"We have to consider Pakistan's prestige and respect, and what is paramount for the image of the country. We have to form a code and will also consider whether it should be included in players' central contract," said Ashraf.
Ashraf said corruption would not be tolerated in Pakistani cricket.
"We want to keep the image of our team and the country clean and for that we will take strict measures which will be finalised soon," said Ashraf.
Ashraf said rehabilitation of the banned players would also start soon, following consultations with the ICC.
Regarding the revival of cricket between India and Pakistan, Ashraf said a lot depends on the relationship between the two countries.
"We have requested the Indian Board to have a series for a Jinnah-Gandhi trophy," said Ashraf of the two countries' independence leaders. "It should be played alternate years or every two years but it should be a regular feature."
India briefly revived ties last December, paving the way for a short limited-overs series with Pakistan touring India for the first time in five years.
But since then, cross-border killings quashed hopes of a full cricket series. "Both countries will have elections and I hope once things get normal, not only cricket but trade and various other things will start," said Ashraf.
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