Two of Pakistan’s senior most players Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez have said that the players found guilty of corruption must not be spared and should be given the harshest punishment and debarred from cricket.
“The problem is that these spot-fixing scandals continue to haunt Pakistan cricket because we have not made an example of those players who were found guilty of involvement in this menace,” Afridi said.
“I say if a player is found guilty of fixing he should not be allowed to even play domestic cricket. In the past we have not taken strong decisions. It is of no use if after serving four to five year punishment these players are allowed back to play,” he was quoted as saying in Geo News channel on Saturday.
The flamboyant all-rounder said that when the spot-fixing scandal took place on the tour to England in 2010 he could still remember the shame and humiliation the Pakistani players faced.
“We should have set the right example then,” Afridi said.
Afridi said he was bitterly sad and disappointed at finding out the involvement of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif in the PSL fixing scandal.
“They have not been proven guilty as yet or punished but I am very sad over Sharjeel getting involved in this. He had the ability to become a world class opener. Losing two quality batsmen is also a big loss for Pakistan cricket. It also happened in 2010 when we lost a quality player,” he said.
He said while the Pakistan Cricket Board and its anti-corruption unit were doing their best to tackle this problem but it was also the responsibility of players to report any approach made to them immediately.
“The players bear the greatest responsibility to keep the game clean. They are not school children. They are mature professionals. They know what is right or wrong. So there should be no leniency if someone does wrong because if we don’t take harsh punishments these issues will keep on hurting us and our coming generation of players,” Afridi said.
He also said there was greater responsibility on the ICC to try to get to the root cause of this menace and root out those people who are trying to corrupt the game.
Hafeez also made it clear in Lahore that players proven guilty of corruption in cricket should be punished to the fullest so that people think twice before committing such a crime.
Speaking at a function in Lahore he said his stance was clear that those players found guilty need to be debarred from the sport.
“I have nothing against anyone but these fixing scandals have hurt our cricket a lot in the past. I believe whoever is guilty of damaging the image of Pakistan cricket or people there should be no leniency shown to him. He should not be given an opportunity to earn his respect back,” he said.