Karachi: Former Pakistan fast bowling great Wasim Akram on Sunday said it would be very hard for the three banned players - Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif - to get rid of the stigma associated with the bans imposed on them for spot-fixing.
"I do feel sorry for the players and I can imagine what they must be going through right now particularly their families and friends," Wasim said.
"This incident comes at a time when the whole country is going through a low patch and it is a tough situation for all Pakistanis," he added.
The former captain however backed the bans by the ICC anti-corruption tribunal insisting they would be like a lesson to other cricket playing nations as well.
"All this is very sad news for Pakistan and these youngsters but they made mistakes and they must face the music. But I feel the tribunal verdict shows that the ICC is serious about tackling any corruption in cricket," he said.
Wasim said the bans were also a reminder to the other cricket boards that it was their job to educate and groom young players who come from humble backgrounds and educate players about anti-corruption measures.
"I think it is job of management to let the players know clearly who they should associate with, who they should meet because youngsters need to be taught about their future in cricket," he added.
Wasim said he felt specially sad for left arm pacer Amir who is just 18 and has been banned for five years.
"He is a wonderful talent and this ban will effect his career. Removing this stigma would be difficult for the trio."
Wasim said it was time for Pakistan cricket fans to move on and focus on the World Cup by supporting the national team, which was now looking good.
"We have the World Cup head of us and we need to support our team now," he said.