Cook wants life bans for fixers but will face Amir

England captain Alastair Cook has expressed his opinion that all match-fixers must be handed life bans, but clarified he did not have any problem playing against left-arm paceman Mohammad Amir. Amir, who was punished by the ICC for his role in a fixing offence in 2010, has been included in the Pakistan Test squad for its upcoming England tour.

Pakistan's Mohammad Amir has played 13 limited overs internationals since his ICC ban was lifted.   -  Getty Images

England captain Alastair Cook has said he wants all cricketers found guilty of match-fixing to be banned for life, but that he would be prepared to face Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir. Left-arm quick Amir is in line to make his Test return — having already made his comeback in white-ball international cricket — in the series opener against England at Lord’s next month.

It was during a Lord’s Test against England six years ago that Amir and two Pakistan teammates were involved in the deliberate bowling of no-balls — the trio having been lured into a newspaper ‘sting’ operation to demonstrate their willingness to take part in spot-fixing.

A teenager at the time and one of world cricket’s undoubted rising stars, Amir was sent to jail by an English court and banned from all cricket worldwide for five years. He has now served that ban and, unlike 2010 Pakistan captain Salman Butt and fellow paceman Mohammad Asif, Amir has now been included in the squad for a four-Test series starting at Lord’s on July 14.

'Ironic'

“It’s kind of ironic that his first Test match will be here back at Lord’s,” Cook told reporters at the ground on Wednesday ahead of the third Test between England and Sri Lanka. “He’s served his time. He’s been punished for what he did, and quite rightly so, because we’ve got to protect the integrity of the game. But I have no problems in playing against him at all.”

However, the left-handed opener added: “My only thing is that if you get caught match-fixing, you should be banned for life. The punishment should be that hard, because we’ve got to protect the integrity. That’s not saying Amir shouldn’t come back, because the rules were probably different then.

“From my point of view, the punishment should be harsh to try to deter people from doing it. But that’s from now on, that’s if I had any say in it.”

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos