Pakistan scandal: Strauss supports life ban for players found guilty

Hard to prove but bans must be tough, says England captain
• Pakistan hierarchy confident one-day series will go ahead

The England captain, Andrew Strauss, believes life bans are the only way to deal with cricketers who are found guilty of match-fixing.

Strauss was speaking at Lord’s today, after the fourth npower Test – which ended in an innings victory and 3-1 series success for England over Pakistan – was overshadowed by allegations in the News of the World of “spot-fixing” against members of the visiting team.

Strauss was careful to avoid pre-judging the repercussions of newspaper reports, and even the subsequent arrest of a 35-year-old man – from outside the Pakistan squad – in connection with the matter.

“Clearly with a lot of these match-fixing allegations, it is so hard to prove things categorically one way or another, which is one of the real difficulties,” he said. “But if someone is found categorically guilty of doing it, the only way for me is for you not to be able to play international cricket again.”

Strauss admitted the spot-fixing allegations against members of the Pakistan team had taken the gloss off his side’s 3-1 series win as the tourists were saying the forthcoming one-day series would be going ahead.

The Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed said: “As far as I’m concerned the one-day series is on,” he said, with the first ODI due to take place on 5 September.

England wrapped up victory by an innings and 225 runs in the fourth Test at Lord’s by bowling Pakistan out for 147.

But Strauss acknowledged that celebrations were muted after the allegations of spot-fixing were made on Saturday evening.

“I don’t think anyone wants to finish a Test series in this scenario,” Strauss told the BBC. “It has taken the gloss off the series win which is very disappointing because we had some outstanding performances.”

The win was set up by a record eighth-wicket partnership of 332 between Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad. Strauss added: “The partnership by Trott and Broad is the best I’ve seen in an England team and we followed it up with our bowling.

“It’s been a hard fought series and it’s nice to win it but not in these circumstances. I don’t think anyone likes the game of cricket being overshadowed by other events. We’ve seen it happen before and no one likes it.

“I can’t really speak too much about the specific circumstances but it is just a shame that the series has ended this way. We’re glad we’ve won but don’t feel too glad at the moment.

“We don’t know if it’s true or not but it’s not good that the game of the cricket is overshadowed in this way. With these sort of allegations you start questioning stuff that you shouldn’t be questioning.

“We all want to know when we achieve something special that it has been done in the right circumstances.”

Asked if he would seek reassurances ahead of the one-day series, Strauss said: “With all these things it is important to let the dust settle. They are explosive allegations that have affected the mood of the players. We are going to have to sit down and talk about it. There are also going to be lots of talks between the ICC [the International Cricket Council], the ECB [the England and Wales Cricket Board] and the PCB [the Pakistan Cricket Board]. I wouldn’t like to pre-judge it.”

England’s Stuart Broad, man of the match after hitting a brilliant 169, held a differing view from his captain and felt the match had not been tainted.

“I don’t think so,” he told the BBC. “Obviously it was a bit of a shock for us in the dressing room but we were very focused on what we had to do out on the pitch.

“We had six wickets to take [today] to win the Test match and win the Test series. The way we did that this morning was very ruthless and very professional.

“It’s certainly not a tarnish. We value every Test match win. We know how valuable they are.” – Guardian