Ban Pakistan from cricket, says Botham

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Pakistan should be banned from international cricket until corruption allegations against their players have been fully investigated, Ian Botham said.

Updated: September 20, 2010 12:41 IST
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Pakistan should be banned from international cricket until corruption allegations against their cricketers have been fully investigated, England great Sir Ian Botham said on Monday.

World cricket has been rocked by allegations that members of Pakistan's team fixed aspects of last month's fourth Test match against England, which led to the suspensions of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.

Further allegations against Pakistan emerged over the weekend following their team's one-day victory over England on Friday.

The new allegations have triggered a bitter war of words between officials from the two cricket nations, with England's players expressing "outrage" at suggestions from Pakistan chairman Ijaz Butt they were involved in corruption.

Now Botham believes Pakistan should be thrown out of the sport altogether. Asked directly if he felt Pakistan should be banned, Botham replied: "In my opinion, yes. We keep sweeping things under the carpet -- enough is enough.

"The public pay the money to come and watch the game. What do they do if a catch goes down or someone bowls a no-ball? What are they thinking? Enough is enough."

Botham also rubbished Butt's allegations concerning England's players, which the Pakistan official claimed to have discovered from "bookies' circles".

"I would like to know how Ijaz Butt knows what the bookmakers are doing. Maybe he should tell us something," Botham remarked.

"It's appalling, it's farcical and it's gone on for too long now. It needs to be stamped out. If you have a cancerous problem you get to the root of it.

"If it means giving guys amnesty, saying, 'Come clean, guys, tell us what happened, then we'll move on', whether they have to serve a ban -- that's for the ICC.

"The ICC need to wake up, they need to get off their backsides. From what I can see they haven't done very much at all."

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