England all-rounder Stuart Broad has spoken out against match-fixers being allowed back to play cricket.
Broad, who played in the Lord’s Test that saw three Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir caught for spot-fixing, says the match was one of his career highlights and feels that the revelation thereafter tainted one of his proudest moments. Broad scored his highest Test score in the match, scoring 169 runs. Even though the match is recorded Broad feels that it will always be looked back on with suspicion.
‘Of course it annoys me that that game will always be connected with what went on. Lord’s is the home of cricket. It’s a wonderful place to play and that Test match will always be remembered for the wrong reasons,’ Broad told the Mail on Sunday.
‘It was my best-ever innings, my only Test century and coming in tough circumstances as well. It was a good battle and I’ll never forget the feeling I got running through for that hundred.
‘From what we know, the three Pakistan players weren’t actually fixing the game as a whole — a no-ball doesn’t affect if I hit a four or not — so I can still look back with a lot of pride on scoring that hundred. But of course it was tarnished by what happened.’
Broad also said that he has no issues playing against Amir who was only 18 years old at the time, but feels that the right message should be sent and transgressors should be banned for life.
‘What he did was wrong but he was extremely young and maybe not aware of the consequences. The reality is he’s back in the game and has served his time.
‘I have a little bit of sympathy for Amir but once you’ve received money to do something illegal that is always a bad thing. We are very well-educated by the ICC’s anti-corruption unit, but at 18 years old you are potentially more vulnerable and susceptible to your elders.
‘I am strongly of the view that one of the only ways we will ever expel this awful (match-fixing) disease from our game is to hand out lifetime bans for any kind of fixing.
‘As an 18-year-old if you know the punishment is a lifetime ban from anything to do with cricket — playing, coaching, anything — that should be it. It would be a very scary thought.’
England and Pakistan will kick-off their four-match Test series on July 14, at Lord’s – the scene of the spot-fixing scandal.
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