3 Nov 2011

Botham demands ICC act on match-fixing

12:25 pm on 3 November 2011

The former England cricket captain Ian Botham says the International Cricket Council needs to act fast to cut off the head of the match-fixing snake following 11 years inactivity in the wake of the Hansie Cronje scandal.

Three Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir are about to be sentenced in London after being found guilty of taking bribes to fix part of a Test match against England last year.

It's the first successful prosecution for corruption in cricket since the former South African captain Hansie Cronje was banned for life for his part in a match-fixing scandal in 2000, and Botham has accused the ICC of sitting on their hands ever since.

The sports governing body has released a statement this week hoping the latest verdicts would act as a warning to other players who might be "tempted to engage in corrupt activity".

But Botham believes there needs to be a more thorough investigation into cricket's shadowy underworld, and the multi-billion dollar betting industry that funds it, and it has to start with Pakistan.

Ahead of sentencing, lawyers representing the three Pakistanis are appealing for their freedom.