Andrew Strauss cannot be sure that cricket is clean of corruption as England prepare to take on Pakistan for the first time since the game was plunged into turmoil by the spot-fixing scandal.
Pakistan trio Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and former captain Salman Butt were all jailed for a plan to bowl deliberate no-balls during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010. The International Cricket Council have issued bans to the trio and have vowed to crack down on any form of illegal activity in the game, but Strauss is still not 100 per cent sure that cricket is clean.
“I don’t think it’s possible to say that cricket is clean” Strauss said prior to England’s Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. “I think there is more awareness about it. It’s been in the news a lot which is a good thing. There have been some consequences to what went on, but it’s a hard thing to eradicate completely.
Policing it is very tough and there is a huge responsibility on the administrators and the players to make sure that any inkling, anything we see that be untoward is acted upon.”
Pakistan’s tour of England two years ago ended with relations between the two camps at a low thanks to the spot-fixing allegations. A previous tour of England in 2006 ended in acrimony after then captain Inzamam-ul-Haq ordered his team not to take to the field after being accused of ball-tampering halfway through the fourth Test at the Oval. Strauss hopes the upcoming series against Pakistan will be a chance for both countries to draw a line under any issues that have come between them in the past.
He said: “What’s happened before, as far as I’m concerned, is water under the bridge and I hope both sides can play the game in the right spirit.”