Pakistan trio to appeal bans as ICC claims cricket is clean

Chief executive of ruling body believes spot-fixing scandal was an isolated case

As Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir signalled their intention to appeal against cricketing bans for corruption, Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive of the ICC, defended the world governing body's policing of the game. Lorgat claimed that match fixing in cricket has been "curtailed", while spot fixing, of which the three Pakistan players were found guilty, was far from prevalent.

Speaking in Doha yesterday, the day after an independent panel had delivered its verdict on Butt, Mohammad Asif and Amir, Lorgat said that he "did not believe [spot fixing] is rife". "This is a very isolated case," said Lorgat.

Butt was banned for 10 years, a sentence that effectively ends the 26-year-old's career at Test level, even if five are suspended if he participates in a programme of anti-corruption education run by the Pakistan Cricket Board. Asif, 28, has had two years of his seven-year banishment suspended if he fulfils the same criteria. He too is unlikely to play for his country again.

Amir received the minimum tariff, five years, but the 18-year-old will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Amir said: "Cricket has given me everything and it has been everything and if I don't play it I have nothing. I left education to play cricket and I have nothing other than cricket."

There were claims that the three-man panel, chaired by the QC Michael Beloff alongside Albie Sachs, a South African judge, and Sharad Rao, a Kenyan lawyer, had acted leniently when it came to Amir because of his age. Rao told the News of the World, whose sting last August sparked the scandal: "There is the age of Mohammed Amir to take into consideration. He is a wonderfully talented cricketer and we felt we could end his career. We do not believe this was leniency."

Lorgat believes that the sentences are appropriate. "It will make it extremely difficult for them to return to the Test format," he said. "It is at the prime of their careers that they are faced with punishment.

"My first reaction is one of sadness that we had to go through such an ordeal but I am satisfied we have concluded it. I'm also satisfied that the sanctions delivered are severe enough to send out a clear message that the ICC will not stop short at anything to prosecute any player found wanting in this area of corruption. I don't believe the sentences are lenient by any stretch of the imagination."

Lorgat accepted that the game's image has been "tarnished" but said the manner in which the incident has been dealt with will have repaired the damage. He said: "With the speed with which we have got to this point, the hope is that people realised we are serious about maintaining our integrity and we will do everything to protect that. I hope as a result of what has transpired yesterday the image of the game has improved."

England captain Andrew Strauss supported the bans. "The important thing with any punishment is that it sends out a very strong message to those who might be tempted to do it in the future – that is, you do it, and your career is going to be substantially reduced if not completely destroyed," said Strauss. "It is a good thing the game is starting to clean itself up. I would urge the authorities to be as thorough as they can, because if there is a whiff that something dodgy is going on then that degrades the whole sport."

Corruption has dogged the sport for more than a decade now. Butt is the fifth international captain to be sanctioned this century after Salim Malik, Muhammad Azharuddin, Maurice Odumbe of Kenya and Hansie Cronje. Butt said on his return to Karachi yesterday : "I am innocent. I will not rest until I get the ban overturned. I don't think our arguments were heard properly and the ban is unjustified."

Amir also refused to accept the outcome. "I am innocent and I was confident they would clear me. The ban came as a total shock," he said.

Both players said they would wait to see the full judgement before deciding on the course of appeal to CAS, but the ICC may delay publishing it until after the criminal case against the three players and a UK-based agent, Mazhar Majeed. They have been charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, and conspiracy to cheat. They deny the charges.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week