LONDON: 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.
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.’
Meanwhile, England Captain Andrew Strauss voiced his ‘outrage’ at comments made by Pakistan cricket chief Ijaz Butt. .
Strauss, speaking on behalf of the England team, threatened Butt with possible legal action, in a statement that said: ‘We would like to express our surprise, dismay and outrage at the comments made by Mr Butt yesterday (Sunday).
‘We are deeply concerned and disappointed that our integrity as cricketers has been brought into question. We refute these allegations completely and will be working closely with the ECB to explore all legal options open to us.
‘Under the circumstances, we have strong misgivings about continuing to play the last two games of the current series and urge the Pakistani team and management to distance themselves from Mr Butt's allegations.
‘We do, however, recognise our responsibilities to the game of cricket, and in particular to the cricket-loving public in this country, and will therefore endeavour to fulfil these fixtures to the best of our ability,’ he added.
Asked if Butt's remarks soured relations between the teams, Strauss added: ‘I don't know about that.
‘It's one of those situations where everything is a bit raw and emotional and there is a responsibility on all 22 players that it's the cricket that does the talking.’
However, Sky reported there had been an altercation in the Lord's nets between England batsman Jonathan Trott and Pakistan seamer Wahab Riaz, one of four Pakistan players interviewed by British police.
Butt, in a subsequent interview with BBC Radio Five Live on Monday, said he had merely been relaying information from bookmakers relating to England's one-day defeat to Pakistan at the Oval on Friday.
‘I have never said this. If you listen to the full tape of the NDTV interview, the bookies are saying this. I am not saying this,’ Butt said.
Butt triggered uproar late Sunday in an interview where he linked England's cricketers to match-fixing.
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