Pakistan's most famous cricketer Imran Khan last night insisted country should not be banned from competing if found guilty of match-fixing allegations.
Retired captain Khan, whose skills as an all-rounder and eventual career as a politician catapulted him to stardom in Pakistan, said the country should not suffer for the alleged actions of a tiny handful of people.
Speaking to ITV News in Islamabad, Khan said: "Why should Pakistan cricket suffer if some players have indulged in a crime? Why should Pakistani supporters suffer because of that?
"The people who are found guilty should be removed from the team and replaced and should be punished as an example for future generation to realise that crime does not pay."
He said he was "shocked" at the allegations.
"It's a very depressing day for Pakistan cricket but I still want to wait until the whole story unfolds until we know whether the allegations are correct."
The allegations could become the biggest setback for Pakistani cricket, he said.
"If they are proved, not just in terms of the best players in the team being implicated but from the public point of view, they would not understand the finer points of the game and each time they lose they will think it's a fixed match, so it has long-term repercussions for Pakistani cricket provided the allegations are true."