KARACHI: Pakistan’s banned cricketers Salim Malik and Muhammad Aamir have backed moves by New Zealand’s government to enforce prison sentences for players found guilty of spot or match fixing. Malik, who is serving a life ban for match fixing and Aamir who is in the fourth year of a five-year ban for spot fixing, said prison terms would help curb the menace of corruption. “I think it is a good move by New Zealand’s government and other cricket playing nations should also follow it,” Malik, who has pleaded innocence since being banned in 2000, said. “I know how much I have suffered because of this match fixing stigma. I think it is time similar law is also enacted in Pakistan so that cricket players can be clean of such allegations once and for all,” Malik said.
Aamir, 22, was banned for spot fixing in 2010 and believes the threat of going to prison would deter players from being tempted to get involved with match fixing. “It is a reality that some people try to lure players down the wrong path,” he said on a sports channel. “I have experienced it. I think such laws will definitely make players think twice about what they are doing. What I did was wrong and it has been hard going without cricket for all these years. But I think more anti-corruption steps are required to clean up the sport,” he said.
Aamir also advised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to set up a committee of senior players who could guide young players at domestic and international level and educate them about the pitfalls of modern day cricket. The chief operating officer of the PCB, Subhan Ahmad said Pakistan supported New Zealand’s move to curb fixing in sports. “This has been discussed at the ICC level by the anti-corruption unit,” he said. “There are similar laws already prevalent in England and in Pakistan also we will be engaging with parliamentarians to enact a similar law,” Ahmad said.
The New Zealand government decided to move the Crimes (Match-fixing) Amendment Bill 2014, which entails a seven-year punishment if found guilty of match-fixing after the recent scandal where former New Zealand batsman, Lou Vincent confessed to indulging in spot fixing. Pakistan has been hit the hardest by fixing scandals with four of their current players including Aamir, Muhammad Asif, former captain Salman Butt and leg spinner Danish Kaneria all banned for fixing in the last four years.
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