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'Suspend Pakistan, scrap the ODI series'

August 30, 2010 15:13 IST

The 'spot-fixing' scandal involving Pakistani cricketers threatens the very existence of the sport, according to the British media, which called for Pakistan's suspension from international cricket and life bans on the guilty players.

Britain's newspapers said cricket's reputation has been mired by the incident and Pakistan should be suspended from cricket by the ICC to restore the image of the game.

"There can be zero tolerance for cheats, even if their dishonesty is genuinely limited to bowling a no-ball to order," The Sun wrote in its editorial.

"Pakistan must be suspended from cricket, which sadly means scrapping the forthcoming one-day series. The shadow of corruption has hung over Pakistani cricket for 15 years. This scandal must be the last," it said.

The Daily Mail termed the scandal as the worst ever scam to hit cricket and called the International Cricket Council to impose a life ban on the players if found guilty.

"Such a purge would be tremendously painful in the short term but it is the only way integrity and belief can be restored," it said.

The Daily Mirror said even though it is disappointing for cricket lovers to see the sport plagued by scams, there is also a need to educate the young cricketers to help them resist such temptations.

"Money in one form or another sometimes seems to be taking over every aspect of sport.

"More must be done to help players and athletes, who are often very young, resist temptation and stand up to blackmail or intimidation.

"We also need to recapture the spirit of fair play that seems to have been driven out by soaring profits," it wrote.

The Guardian felt cheating in cricket thrives in many forms and it is high time the ICC sets its house in order.

"Cricket cheating thrives in many forms: charges of match-fixing and betting coups coexist with a culture of ball-tampering, sledging, time-wasting and refusal to accept umpires' decisions," it said.

"Cricket must put its house in order fast. Nothing undermines the credibility of any sport more than the suspicion that what you are watching is in fact a fix."

The Times said the allegations are a bitter blow to Pakistanis and urged the cricketing world not to isolate "a troubled nation".

"These are dark days for cricket, for professional sport, and for Pakistan," it said.

"In a time when Pakistan is balanced on an existential knife-edge, cricket represents liberalism rather than extremism; international engagement rather than isolation; the celebration of graceful civilisation rather than the cold nihilism of tribal and religious strife.

"Sport may only be sport, but in Pakistan cricket provides a vital bridge of engagement and mutual respect with the wider world.

"The worst thing that could happen now would be for the rest of the world to give up on Pakistan, in cricket, or in anything else."

The Independent also felt the mis-governance of Pakistan cricket, which doesn't have any inspirational figure, is also responsible for the dwindling status of cricket in the volatile nation.

"This is more than the age-old tale of youth corrupted and disorientated by bright lights and luxury," it said.

"Misgoverned for decades, Pakistan has a political class that contains few people whom anyone seriously looks up to for moral inspiration -- hence, in part, the almost fanatical devotion to a sport that supposedly incarnates the ideal of fair play.

"The people of Pakistan deserve better than to have it rubbed in their faces that this is not the case."

The Daily Telegraph said though the incident seems to have tarnished the image of Pakistan but the allegations has in fact affected the integrity of the whole sport.

"Many will see it as a mirror image of the political corruption that is endemic to that country," it said, calling for anyone involved to be punished.

"Only then can a start be made to remove the stain on cricket's reputation," the paper said.