Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Strauss: I’m not convinced cricket is free of corruption

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 in November for their part in 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% sure that cricket is clean.

“I don't think it's possible to say that (cricket is clean),” Strauss told a press conference in London 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 reported and 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 that engulfed the tourists.

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.

Strauss said: “What's happened before, as far as I'm concerned, is water under the bridge.

“We should see this series as an opportunity to erode or eradicate the perception that there's always issues between Pakistan and England.”

England will play Pakistan in the UAE — where Pakistan have been playing due to security concerns in their homeland — and the sides will meet for three Tests, four ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals.

England ended 2011 as the number one ranked team in the world having swatted aside India in a highly-impressive 4-0 series win which came six months after they reclaimed the Ashes in Australia.

Strauss' men travel to Sri Lanka after the Pakistan series and then host the West Indies and South Africa before travelling to India at the end of what Strauss described as a “gruelling” year.

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