England skipper Alastair Cook wants life bans for match-fixers

Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook has called on the International Cricket Council to institute mandatory life bans for all proven match-fixers.

The England captain, who will lead his team at Lord’s on Thursday in pursuit of a 3-0 whitewash over Sri Lanka in the Investec series, is highly likely to be facing rehabilitated spot-fixer Mohammad Amir back at HQ next month.

Amir has reportedly been granted a visa to return to England, and has been picked by Pakistan for this summer’s four-Test tour.

The left-armer’s presence in the first Test at Lord’s is sure to stir mixed feelings, at the venue where he agreed to bowl no-balls to order for financial gain on Pakistan’s 2010 tour - a crime for which he was jailed and served a five-year ban from all cricket.

Co-conspirators Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif will not be back.

Cook insisted he will welcome back Amir, who has shown outstanding form since his return to limited-overs action, but advocates no further leeway for anyone who transgresses.

“He has served [his punishment], so I’m perfectly happy for him to come back and play,” said Coo.

“But in my opinion - now, because it’s become a bit more prevalent [in the number of known cases], the ICC should come out and say that if you are caught match-fixing you are banned for life.

“That’s what we should do to try and protect the game.”

At a time when cricket faces tougher competition than ever for a slice of the sports-viewing market, Cook believes it cannot afford to be tolerant of those who put it in peril.

“People want to be watching a genuine contest. There shouldn’t be sideshows and side-bets.”