Ban spot-fixers for life, says Murali
Sun, 14 Oct 2012 9:53a.m.
Anyone involved in spot-fixing should be banned for life, former Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan told Reuters on Saturday (October 13), days after six umpires were provisionally suspended for allegedly agreeing to fix matches.
Hindi-language India TV showed footage on Monday (October 8) of what the news channel said was officials from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka negotiating deals with under-cover reporters to affect the outcome of matches.
Pakistan's Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka's Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage were all seen agreeing to give favourable decisions in exchange for umpiring contracts and money.
Shah and Ghauri have denied the charges.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) imposed the suspension on Wednesday ahead of investigations and Muralitharan, the leading wicket taker both in test and one-day internationals, said anyone found guilty deserved the severest punishment.
"Definitely, whoever done these things should be punished for life time. They shouldn't be at any level, they should not be tolerated," the 40-year-old told Reuters in an interview in Singapore.
The latest case of spot-fixing was another blot on the sport which suffered a wave of negative headlines when three Pakistani internationals were found guilty of spot-fixing during a test series in England two years ago.
Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were jailed in Britain for their roles in a gambling-inspired plot to bowl no-balls at pre-arranged times during a test match at London's Lord's Cricket Ground in August 2010.
In May, another sting operation by India TV led to the Indian cricket board banning one uncapped player for life and handing out lesser punishments to four others for involvement in corruption in domestic cricket.
Muralitharan, who took 800 test wickets in a glittering career to go with 534 from one-dayers, backed the ICC and said it was good that people were being caught and not allowed to get away with damaging the sport.
"In society there are good people and bad people. It has always been like that in cricket also, there must be bad people so they do these kinds of things. Fortunately they get caught so that means the game is getting cleaner," the off-spinner known more commonly as 'Murali' said.
"In society there are good people and bad people and it has always been like that, but fortunately they get caught so that means cricket is getting cleaner and cleaner."
While Muralitharan has retired from international cricket after nearly two decades of bamboozling batsmen, he continues to ply his trade in the lucrative world of Twenty20.
He is contracted to play one more season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has signed up for a season with the Melbourne Renegades in Australia's Big Bash which starts in December.
"Definitely IPL is one of the big tournaments in the world but still Big Bash as well. Because I'm playing in Big Bash hopefully for the first time, trying to do well in Australia. Meantime, IPL is also one of the big tournaments.
"One more year I'll play, and we'll see what will happen," he said of his future beyond those tournaments.
Muralitharan's appearances Down Under could also bring the Sri Lankan up against sprint king Usain Bolt, with the multiple Olympic champion rumoured to be discussing dropping his running spikes for a brief spell to play in the tournament.
"(I would) Love to meet him, he is one of the greatest sportsmen in the world, everyone loves him so hopefully we score so many runs and he chases the ball," Muralitharan laughed.
Also in Singapore was wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara who spoke about Sri Lanka's recent loss on home soil to the West Indies in the T20 World Cup, the fourth time they have been beaten in a one-day final.
"Disappointing, but at the end of the day you have to accept the fact that to win a World Cup you get to the finals and that is the day you've got to be at your best, and unfortunately we haven't be at our best on four occasions," he said.
The Sri Lankans will be seeking to regain their confidence in a home series against New Zealand which begins later this month.
"New Zealand is going to be a great challenge for us, they are a good unit and they play very well together. So it'll be interesting to have them at home, after a while to see how we go with a team in transition," said Sangakkara.
Sangakkara was asked about his IPL team the Deccan Chargers, who were expelled from the tournament on Saturday after failing to meet a financial guarantee deadline.
"Players have been paid and that's great and the franchise has ensured that they've always kept their word to the players, they've honoured all the contracts we've signed with them," he said.
"They are now in arbitration with BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) to try and come to an agreement and the BCCI has always been very good in problem solving during the IPL and they've done a great job over five years. Deccan Chargers was a great franchise to play for so we as players, we can't control those things, we just wait and see as to what will happen."
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