Imran calls for overhaul of cricket

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Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has called for cricket to be radically changed as three players began jail terms for spot-fixing.

Salman Butt, Pakistan’s ex-Test captain, received a 30-month sentence at Southwark Crown Court yesterday; fast bowler Mohammad Asif 12 months, and Mohammad Amir six months; while Mazhar Majeed, the agent involved, was jailed for two years and eight months for his role in the scandal.

Butt, Asif and Majeed were expected to begin their sentences at Wandsworth jail in south London, while Amir was due to be sent to Feltham young offenders’ institution in west London.

Khan told Pakistan’s Geo News: “I think what is most important is that our cricket system needs to be radically changed. Only then will we be able to rid ourselves of corruption in cricket.

“I feel very sad not only for the players, but for Pakistan and its cricket. But the fact is that when these players see corrupt people flourishing in our society they think they can get away with anything.”

The Pakistan trio were all guilty for their part in a conspiracy to bowl deliberate no-balls in the Lord’s Test against England in August 2010.

The scandal has brought the International Cricket Council’s efforts to combat corruption sharply into focus, and the organisation’s former anti-corruption chief, Lord Condon, has warned the game has become complacent and has to do more to combat the “massive problem”.

Condon said: “Cricket has got a massive ongoing problem. It’s got to keep its nerve. The players have got to do more and the ICC has got to do more. National boards have got to do more.”