Afridi, Hafeez call for strict punishment for corrupted players

The senior players aired their opinion in light of the recent spot-fixing investigation in the Pakistan Super League.

Shahid Afridi...“There should be no leniency if someone does wrong because if we don’t take harsh punishments, these issues will keep on hurting us.”   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Players found guilty of corruption should be given the harshest punishment and debarred from cricket, say senior players Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez.

“The problem is that these spot-fixing scandals continue to haunt Pakistan cricket because we have not made an example of those players who were found guilty of involvement in this menace,” Afridi was quoted as saying by Geo News on Saturday. “I say if a player is found guilty of fixing, he should not be allowed to even play domestic cricket. In the past, we have not taken strong decisions. It is of no use if after serving four to five year punishment these players are allowed to play,” he said.

The flamboyant all-rounder said he could still remember the shame and humiliation Pakistan’s players faced on the tour of England in 2010. “We should have set the right example then,” Afridi said.

Afridi said he was disappointed at finding out the involvement of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif in the PSL fixing scandal. “They have not been proven guilty as yet or punished but I am very sad over Sharjeel getting involved in this. He had the ability to become a world-class opener. Losing two quality batsmen is also a big loss for Pakistan cricket. It also happened in 2010 when we lost quality player,” he said.

‘Greatest responsibility’ on players

He said while the Pakistan Cricket Board and its anti-corruption unit are doing their best to tackle this problem, players also have the responsibility to report any approach made to them immediately. “The players bear the greatest responsibility to keep the game clean. They are not school children. They are mature professionals. They know what is right or wrong. So there should be no leniency if someone does wrong because if we don’t take harsh punishments, these issues will keep on hurting us and our coming generation of players,” Afridi said.

He also said there was greater responsibility on the ICC to try to get to the root of this menace.

Hafeez also made it clear in Lahore that players proven guilty of corruption in cricket should be punished to the fullest so that people think twice before committing such crimes. Speaking at a function in Lahore, he said his stance was clear that those players found guilty need to be debarred from the sport.

“I have nothing against anyone but these fixing scandals have hurt our cricket a lot in the past. I believe whoever is guilty of damaging the image of Pakistan cricket or people, there should be no leniency shown to him. He should not be given an opportunity to earn his respect back,” he said.