Former England captain Geoff Boycott said on Monday that Pakistani cricket was repeatedly implicated in corruption scandals because authorities had not clamped down hard enough in the past.
The no-nonsense Yorkshireman said the International Cricket Council (ICC) had failed to tackle past cases adequately, allowing the current climate to develop.
Three Pakistan players — Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif — have been suspended and charged by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), over the alleged bowling of deliberate no-balls at Lord’s cricket ground in north London.
“It is no coincidence that Pakistan are repeatedly implicated in these scandals because they never deal with them properly,” Boycott wrote in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
“People might get suspended or banished from the team, but within a few months the regime changes, and they are back again, as if nothing happened.
“Pakistan must join the rest of the world in deploring what happened at Lords. There is no point them trying to turn a blind eye.”
He urged the ACSU to offer rising star Aamer a plea bargain, “because it is so crucial for cricket”. “Tell the truth about what took place and he can get off with a lighter sentence. If he won’t play ball, then make an example of him,” he wrote.
“I feel for Aamer, because any 18-year-old is likely to get dragged along by his seniors. But I still believe that he deserves a lengthy ban — seven years, perhaps — if he is shown to have bowled no-balls to order. “As for the others, they should be treated even more harshly, because they have no excuse.”
He said while some experts say what is alleged to have happened might not have been a crime under English law, “it looks like a crime against cricket”.
He also urged Pakistan’s ambassador to London to “get off his high horse”, saying that if he was 100 percent convinced of the players’ innocence, he was not looking at the evidence.
“The evidence looks so bad that, whatever the police make of this case, the ACSU will be under pressure to take strong action,” the former batsman said.
“Within the disciplinary hearings, the burden of proof might as well be reversed: it is up to the players to prove themselves innocent.” He said if the ACSU did not take the case seriously, it should hand it over to a panel of former players. “I can promise you, we wouldn’t mess about.”