Pakistan cricket November 11, 2011

Jail isn't the answer

The convictions of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, and Mohammad Amir are no surprise, and their incarceration is nothing unexpected
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Spot-fixing is already yesterday's news but let's not forget that three former international cricketers have been confined to English jails. The convictions of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, and Mohammad Amir are no surprise, and their incarceration is nothing unexpected.

Many cricket fans and international cricketers believe the sentences to be appropriate, some wished for harsher punishment. Yet as much as the tainted trio deserve condemnation, fines, and lengthy bans from cricket-related activities, I worry about these sentences.

Prison is a place for criminals who are a danger to society or mastermind amoral crimes. Is it the right place for Amir, who Justice Cooke admitted was young, uneducated, coerced and threatened? He was caught in a sting. No bookmakers were defrauded, were they? Nobody's money lost except that belonging to the News of the World, whose own reputation is in the gutter.

English prisons are overcrowded. They are an unlikely place for rehabilitation, an education in criminality more usual. A custodial sentence is best avoided when it does not serve the better interests of society or the individual. What societal or individual benefit does the confinement of these cricketers serve?

While Messrs Butt, Asif, and Amir adapt to their new lives in prison, the Mr Bigs, the 'persons unknown' at the end of long distance telephone calls remain untraceable and untraced. It was possible to decipher every deleted text and message from the phones of our misguided cricketers but sleuths and software experts are unable to offer any clues about the mafia men of Mumbai, Karachi, and Dubai.

For a week I've tussled with the conclusion that jail isn't the answer when it comes to punishing these sportsmen, thinking it was a temporary sympathy that would abate. Instead, I'm even more persuaded that in this instance suspended sentences, fines, and bans from cricket would have been punishment many times over. A guilty verdict itself was utmost humiliation.

As much as I condemn his role in spot-fixing, Butt is right to appeal his sentence. Asif and Amir should follow suit. Even convicted criminals deserve justice that is appropriate.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • hira shoaib on January 3, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    i think it is somehow a pre planned but the best think is that it cannt effect so much on our cricket team i think this is the best thing and now its atime to forget our mistakes and come forward and focus our next target

  • kamkhan on December 25, 2011, 2:34 GMT

    i wonder if the punishment would have been same, if those players were from England team.

  • Darold on December 23, 2011, 23:09 GMT

    That's a smart way of thinikng about it.

  • Rizwan Shah on December 15, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    Well said Kamran, i would like to add and i quote myself " If you as a spectator do not have any qualms about betting on the outcome of the match then why should any player have a qualm on fixing / spot fixing it !!! " Its simple, the root cause is betting, obviously some people made money on these bets this is the reason it happened. Even in a simple tape ball match every one bets, it is in us, the people, we are at fault !!! Cricket needs cleansing as in 'charity begins @ home' Legalized gambling should also be banned in sports else its no more a sport but a form of entertainment. I have lots to say on this but this may not be the right platform, hope the point gets across.

  • AJS on November 29, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    I believe jail is the only solution....I am happy that their appeals have been turned down,,,being a Pakistani whose living abroad in a multicultural society, its extremely shameful for us to face our friends/colleagues of other nations, cricket playing or otherwise. On the other hand, these guys and their families are showing no remorse and pretending to be victims...Its good that they are in Jail and I hope they are never allowed to wear the Pakistani Outfit again.....The jail terms maybe sufficient....however, the bans MUST be for LIFE.

    Only this can serve as a future deterrent for others coming into the sport.

  • Jamal Hyder on November 22, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    We should learn from history about Cricket Authorities and controller's mentality. Pakistan team would have become top team in a couple of years if these bowlers had bloomed to their best. These players were framed. If the team managers, captain and players stick to the principals of ethics and sporting spirit, they will avoid any pitfalls in future.

  • s.lakhani on November 13, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    Punishment in the form of community services will be more adequate,apart from the cricket playing ban.

  • raza on November 13, 2011, 17:37 GMT

    Mr kamran, If i am not wrong 100 plus of cricket history, this is first time a players are behind the bars. what about south afrcian hansey cronnie he was guilty, i dont recall he was sent to jail.

  • Farrukh Usmani on November 13, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    I am not surprized with this article as this is the dilema with us Pakistanis. We immediately rush to find conspiracies behind every wrongdoing and try to portray that the whole world is against us. Mr. Kamran, if you are already not aware, please just go and have a look on the careers of these players and their assets which definitely have no comparison. Secondly, do you remember what was their reaction after they were just caught. Specially Asif and Butt kept denying every thing till the very end. Finally do not forget we have to set an example for future or else we will surely breed crimnals in our cricket.

  • Venky on November 12, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    By this logic the likes of Bernie Madoff should not in prison and should have a different treatment. Yes, the trio are not hardened criminals that have heinous human crimes like murder, torture or rape, but they did break the law. Maybe the answer is a low security prison which has some development opportunities. Irrespective of anything, these guys (Amir being a kid) can use the time to introspect and learn to trust carefully.

    I am pretty positive Salman will be back in the team at some point. I predict he is back as captain in 5 years. Amir will be back sooner.

    What they did was wrong, no ifs or buts.

  • hira shoaib on January 3, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    i think it is somehow a pre planned but the best think is that it cannt effect so much on our cricket team i think this is the best thing and now its atime to forget our mistakes and come forward and focus our next target

  • kamkhan on December 25, 2011, 2:34 GMT

    i wonder if the punishment would have been same, if those players were from England team.

  • Darold on December 23, 2011, 23:09 GMT

    That's a smart way of thinikng about it.

  • Rizwan Shah on December 15, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    Well said Kamran, i would like to add and i quote myself " If you as a spectator do not have any qualms about betting on the outcome of the match then why should any player have a qualm on fixing / spot fixing it !!! " Its simple, the root cause is betting, obviously some people made money on these bets this is the reason it happened. Even in a simple tape ball match every one bets, it is in us, the people, we are at fault !!! Cricket needs cleansing as in 'charity begins @ home' Legalized gambling should also be banned in sports else its no more a sport but a form of entertainment. I have lots to say on this but this may not be the right platform, hope the point gets across.

  • AJS on November 29, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    I believe jail is the only solution....I am happy that their appeals have been turned down,,,being a Pakistani whose living abroad in a multicultural society, its extremely shameful for us to face our friends/colleagues of other nations, cricket playing or otherwise. On the other hand, these guys and their families are showing no remorse and pretending to be victims...Its good that they are in Jail and I hope they are never allowed to wear the Pakistani Outfit again.....The jail terms maybe sufficient....however, the bans MUST be for LIFE.

    Only this can serve as a future deterrent for others coming into the sport.

  • Jamal Hyder on November 22, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    We should learn from history about Cricket Authorities and controller's mentality. Pakistan team would have become top team in a couple of years if these bowlers had bloomed to their best. These players were framed. If the team managers, captain and players stick to the principals of ethics and sporting spirit, they will avoid any pitfalls in future.

  • s.lakhani on November 13, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    Punishment in the form of community services will be more adequate,apart from the cricket playing ban.

  • raza on November 13, 2011, 17:37 GMT

    Mr kamran, If i am not wrong 100 plus of cricket history, this is first time a players are behind the bars. what about south afrcian hansey cronnie he was guilty, i dont recall he was sent to jail.

  • Farrukh Usmani on November 13, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    I am not surprized with this article as this is the dilema with us Pakistanis. We immediately rush to find conspiracies behind every wrongdoing and try to portray that the whole world is against us. Mr. Kamran, if you are already not aware, please just go and have a look on the careers of these players and their assets which definitely have no comparison. Secondly, do you remember what was their reaction after they were just caught. Specially Asif and Butt kept denying every thing till the very end. Finally do not forget we have to set an example for future or else we will surely breed crimnals in our cricket.

  • Venky on November 12, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    By this logic the likes of Bernie Madoff should not in prison and should have a different treatment. Yes, the trio are not hardened criminals that have heinous human crimes like murder, torture or rape, but they did break the law. Maybe the answer is a low security prison which has some development opportunities. Irrespective of anything, these guys (Amir being a kid) can use the time to introspect and learn to trust carefully.

    I am pretty positive Salman will be back in the team at some point. I predict he is back as captain in 5 years. Amir will be back sooner.

    What they did was wrong, no ifs or buts.

  • SohaiL on November 12, 2011, 20:10 GMT

    Extremely sad for Amir but he knew what he was doing. Let's hope he gets the right support and guidance he should have had once he's out. We now need to move on and ensure that the main culprits running the syndicates need to be caught, with all cricketers past and present who have been involved outed for good as we all know this was not an isolated incident. The ICC need to get a hold of this situation, otherwise they should be shut down for their continued effectiveness.

  • blade_pakkiri on November 12, 2011, 20:04 GMT

    Asif, Amir and Butt were just stupid enough to have travelled to Britain for their trial, they should have just stayed back in Pakistan and avoided trial and jail terms. They were already suspended.

  • Subash on November 12, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    Yet another useless article from the guy who is finding it difficult to accept that these 3 pakistan cricketers have cheated millions of cricket fans around the world...and did he means to say that they were misguided?? They willingly cheated for money dude, nobody trapped them, so what if it was a sting...they didn't know it was a sting, and were willing to fix matches for money...thats it...

  • A B on November 12, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    "No bookmakers were defrauded"???!!! Are you really that naive? The paying public and cricket fans were defrauded. That's the issue here. And if your only criteria is monetary fraud, then yes, that happened too. Bookmakers don't make any money by fixing unless someone else loses money on the bets they place. So those placing bets with these bookmakers were clearly defrauded. You might say that it serves them well for indulging in illegal betting. And to that I say jail serves the trio well for betraying the trust of their country and fans of cricket.

  • Muhammad Chowdhury on November 12, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    At least they won't be subject to Sharia law.

  • EAMiran on November 12, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    If only the frothing masses were as enraged about their elected criminal leaders as they are about losing face over three no-balls. No surprise though! Over-reaction is always expected from fanboys and the self-righteous.

  • Shaz on November 12, 2011, 15:08 GMT

    ‎'So, what are you in here for?' Asked the new inmate.

    'Well, I robbed a bank and killed three people in the process. Also chainsawed my neighbour and all his family because he parked in my spot. What are you in here for?'

    'Oh...I just bowled a no-ball

  • Alan R on November 12, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    "Prison is a place for criminals who are a danger to society or mastermind amoral crimes."

    yes, but it also serves as deterrent and punishment. I actually agree with you, that especially in the case of Amir, the purpose of a prison sentence is hard to discern and may even be harmful.

    However, I've had my mind changed discussing this with others. I think we all harbour a wish to protect the seemingly untouchable, "if it can happen to them then it can definitely happen to me." but what they did was clearly wrong, not just in a sporting context, in there efforts to abuse their position to defraud betting markets.

    It is funny how no one thinks Majeed's sentence was harsh, he was no more to blame than any of the players, but we elevate his roll to that of nothing more than a defrauder whereas we tend to view the players through our spectrum of fair play, which they violated, but all parties were equally guilty of fraud.

  • Muhammad Usman on November 12, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    Completely agree............

  • Naveed on November 12, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    A suspended sentence would have been appropriate. They cheated for money but no body else was harmed. I believe Amir had the strongest to be exonerated, yet he was sent to jail. I have no sympathy for the trio, because the brought disrepute and dishonor to Pakistan. Jail time serves no real purpose. It is just wasting away the energy of otherwise highly talented people.

  • Jay on November 12, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    I disagree. There is no deterrent like a jail term. Others who entertain similar thoughts will now think twice. Nothing humiliates like a stint in prison.

  • Kamran Afzal on November 12, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    Its rare to see any person taking side of these players i know they were bad but are they only players to do it and is it basic standard or criteria for any cricketer who is guilty to live in jail for two three years?????????? i afraid we would see double standards of English justice system very sooon and ICC as welll ..............

  • Chris on November 12, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    Sorry, but I have to disagree completely with this. Fines and bans from cricket have shown in the past that they don't work. Much as I feel sorry for Amir, due to the factors mentioned by Justice Cooke, prison terms will act as a much better deterrant to other cricketers, at least in the UK, if nowhere else. Maybe other countris ought to follow suit as well.

  • Ali Ashraf Karimi on November 12, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    Excellent article Mr.Abbasi. I completely agree with you. The guilty verdict in itself was humiliating enough.

  • Steve on November 12, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    Quite agree, mate!

    Does anyone seriously think Butt simply sailed into the dressing room & started the corruption by touting for bent agents & bookies to come calling?

    Years ago(it exploded in 1963),we English had a lower division footballer who led a bribes scandal, which involved players throwing matches to manipulate fixed-odds betting-this was before high street bookmakers were legal here. It was obvious in his case, as in this one, that the Mr Bigs involved were nowhere near court when 3 1st Division footballers(including two then-current England internationals) were jailed.

    The bans they'd already received should have been enough-I'm not even sure this should have been a court case-because, as you say, who was actually defrauded?

  • Dawud on November 12, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    Spot on as usual. However we have had to put up with the usual suspects coming up with the 'lock 'em up and throw away the key' attitude amongst most commentators.

  • Ijaz on November 12, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    Thumbs up my friend...!

    At least I found someone who thought of this case as I did...! The real criminals could not be punished. Like Hansie Cronje ... only the pawns have been punished.

    Cheers

  • Raheel Hussain on November 12, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    Spot on Kamran. Since the whole spot fixing debacle emerged and particularly since the verdicts were passed, I have had my own concerns about the sentencing. Yes, its agreed that spot fixing and other means to defraud monies is a menance, but jail for 3 sportmen? I am really not sure about this, since far greater crimes have resulted in lesser punishments. I think many, including your good self to an extent kamran, have also missed an even bigger point during this tragedy. Many cricketers, whether in SA/Aus or WI have been caught out doing similar things. Indeed, India has arguably had enough incidents of match fixing to fill every prison in England! Gibbs et al, Cronje and Azharuddin have been caught up in this insidious crime, yet no jail terms as far as I am aware. The point here is that Pakistan have for years been treated as the pariah of cricket. Racism? Maybe? Unfair treatment and lack of understanding of cultural nuances? Definitely!!

  • Srini on November 12, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    Kamran is right on spot with reference to jailing the 3 cricketers in Eng prisons. I would rather have Eng police establish the guilt but leave sentencing part to Pak authorities. These cricketers, while on Eng soil, were officially representing Pak in a test match, not in an individual capacity like playing in a county team in a first class match. In addition, a heavy fine to PCB would make them act more decisively in future against these type of transgressions.

  • talha on November 12, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    They deserved this punishment. People mentioned in the justice qayum report and people involved with hansie cronje and azharuddin should also be sent to jail.

  • Azfar Khan on November 12, 2011, 9:36 GMT

    I agree with you Mr. Abbasi a 100%. Their crime is no bigger than any other athlete for example who take performance enhancement drugs as they are cheating the public as well as fellow competitors too and affecting the final results of the competition! Why then those athletes have never been sentenced to jail terms? I can't imagine any cricketer being given the same punishment had they been from Australia or England teams. If Mazhar Majeed is guilty then why has his comment about Australia being involved not investigated further? Im glad that the guilty parties were identified and now out of the Pakistan team... but their punishments are way too harsh for heaven's sake!

  • Abdul Rehman on November 12, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    Fairly illogical argument on all counts. 1) They did cheat the paying public who went to watch a live cricket match but ended up watching a staged drama. 2) Azharuddin was banned for life. He is a member of parliament in India now. So much for your "utmost humiliation". 3) His ban example did not stop enough youngsters from fixing either because fixers would know that getting banned does not really hurt that bad. Jail is a great deterrent. Jail one guilty player and others would stop doing it. 4) As far as your argument about Mr Bigs and others not getting caught, it is like saying stop punishing all the thieves till you punish all the murderers. Obviously it would never work because you will never be able to punish all the murderers. Punish whichever criminal who gets caught. 5) On a sidenote, I wonder if we have so much of crime in Pakistan because we are too tolerant to crime as compared to west.

  • asif bajwa on November 12, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    yeah of course ,jail is not the answer.Justice Cook must call the mentioned bookies n after enquiring them give decision.Anyway ur raised issue is considerable.

  • TD_160 on November 12, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Jail isn't the answer? Perhaps the death penalty, then? You can't be harsh enough on these induviduals, if you ask me. It will serve as a deterrent for other cricketers who are, or are thinking of becoming, involved in fixing. The harsher the better.

  • Allan on November 12, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    Totally agree! The people expressing joy at the sentencing make me puke. In my eyes they are the true filth. The sheer pleasure of watching Amir & Asif bowl far outstrip the wrongs they have done. Even the most vile should be give a chance at redemption, let alone two of the most magical bowlers this game is likely to see in a long time. Makes me despair for true justice in this world! BTW I'm Indian and I totally agree it's the mafia in Mumbai, Karachi and Dubai that needs to be brought to book. But that's never going to happen.

  • Vikram on November 12, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    I agree. The jail is not the way to go. They in fact should be made to go to each and every cricket academy all over the world and educate young kids about match fixing and how they fell victim. Sending them to jail is stupid and harsh. You never send an athlete to jail for a non violent crime.

  • Pranesh, on November 12, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    Dunno what gives you the idea that it was possible to decipher every deleted message?

  • SLFan on November 12, 2011, 2:51 GMT

    You're joking right? No bookmakers were defrauded? Bookmakers offer odds based on the likelihood of an event. If the no-balls were fixed in advanced, how were bookmakers not defrauded?

  • MMV on November 12, 2011, 1:21 GMT

    So Mr.kamran Abbasi you say that these 3 guys are not criminals, to be criminal it does not necessarily mean that you have to do criminal activities, but it is enough if you have either corrupt or criminal contact with the underworld and these guys, they did know what they were doing was wrong and still you say jail is too much. Just people would always want law to be forthright in dealing with these kind of corrupted persons. Until and other wise you weed out the corrupt the game of cricket is not going to be clean. Butt,Asif and Amir were dealt in the best possible way with regard to spot fixing, when corruption takes place that too in a religion like cricket, the law should deal with these situation like these with an iron hand so that future sportsmen all keep away from this nonsense. The paying public have come there to watch cricket and enjoy, that does not necessarily simplify things that you play the sport unethically and accept rewards. Paying public are not fools - Mind it.

  • boss on November 11, 2011, 22:57 GMT

    should this article be on page 2? ridiculous. by saying things like 'No bookmakers were defrauded, were they?' almost tries to justify what these men did.

    jail is hardly too harsh. it's the perfect deterrent for a CRIMINAL ACT that brings the sport into disrepute.

    it is probably these type of views that facilitate corruption in the first place.

  • Bilal on November 11, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    I think Kamran Abbasi has raised a very important point which makes sense. These couple of paragraphs in his blog made me think in the same direction. "Prison is a place for criminals who are a danger to society or mastermind amoral crimes. Is it the right place for Amir, who Justice Cooke admitted was young, uneducated, coerced and threatened? He was caught in a sting. No bookmakers were defrauded, were they? Nobody’s money lost except that belonging to the News of the World, whose own reputation is in the gutter."

    "English prisons are overcrowded. They are an unlikely place for rehabilitation, an education in criminality more usual. A custodial sentence is best avoided when it does not serve the better interests of society or the individual. What societal or individual benefit does the confinement of these cricketers serve?"

  • Imran Khan on November 11, 2011, 21:15 GMT

    Now here's a question I would like to ask... Why isn't anyone talking about Australia's pathetic display (for a very long time) when they were 21-9 against South Africa despite the Ozzies being 188 ahead or about South Africa being bowled out for 96? Why always Pakistan??? It could have happened due to irresponsible batting by both teams but someone must investigate it

  • Ramana Kumar on November 11, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    I can understand Abbasi's love for his fellow countrymen, but his arguments lack rationale. Every criminal who is found guilty has to face the horrors of prison, that is the punishment! To say that people found guilty should not be punished is really strange. It's a tragedy for Pakistani cricket, sure but hopefully the PCB wl take better care of it's cricketing talent.

  • Bartholomew Dalton on November 11, 2011, 18:55 GMT

    In your blog you have completely overlooked one of the main reasons for a custodial sentence, deterrence, as shown in this extract from Cooke J:

    "These offences, regardless of pleas, are so serious that only a sentence of imprisonment will suffice to mark the nature of the crimes and to deter any other cricketer, agent or anyone else who considers corrupt activity of this kind, with its hugely detrimental impact on the lives of many who look to find good honest entertainment and good-hearted enjoyment from following an honest, albeit professional sport."

    In addition you imply that this was a victim-less crime, it wasn't. The victims are the millions of us referred to in the last part of the above quotation, for whom the nature and integrity of the sport has been called into question.

  • jay on November 11, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    Wrong was done and should be punished ... but irony is One man kills two people in a foreign country and gets away with it and 3 men conspire to bowled no balls in a foreign and are in Jail. No justice is not done.

  • Mohammad Naved on November 11, 2011, 18:41 GMT

    Phew..Thank You! I was waiting long for any credible writer to say this. Such things will still exist. The risk is large but the reward is larger and players, if not now, will be tempted. The answer is to legalize betting in India and Pakistan. And as far as imprisonment is concerned, these players belonged to the same cricketing world where fixing is a norm. In past players have gotten away easily. Its better to imprison the pakistan's cricket management which has not done its homework at grass root level then the players. Setting precedents is right but they should be for a greater cause and improvement of society...

  • Imran on November 11, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    Your comments make sense from a cricketing perspective - no one should go to jail for breaking the laws of Cricket.

    That's not the reason they are going to jail however - they are going because they broke the laws of a country. From that perspective, they absolutely deserve jail time. If a young 18 year old is caught stealing an iPad from an electronics store he can, and should face jail time. The "humiliation" of a guilty verdict is not a great deterrent.

  • Surfer on November 11, 2011, 17:51 GMT

    Kamran - There is a cost to the society for running these trials. And if the punishment does not serve as a deterrent, it is simply unmanageable. Any less punishment and the cricketers who are still involved and under the cover would weigh the cost/benefit of wealth accumulation (unrecoverable even through litigation) and the insult through exposure.

  • njr1330 on November 11, 2011, 17:27 GMT

    'Pour encourager les autres' was the comment, when a French Admiral was hanged, was it not ?!

  • Kamran Khalid on November 11, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    One name on Fixing comes to mind, Matt le tessier the footballer from Southampton that bet on his own game for a throw in at a certain point during the game and tried hard to get it, yet he was not charged with fixing as this was not a big deal. well change throw-in with a no ball and what results do you get. Jail sentence?

  • Faisal Khan on November 11, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    Absolutely right sir! "Prison is a place for criminals who are a danger to society or mastermind amoral crime". This sentence says it all.

  • faisal khan on November 11, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    Great article Kamran. Thank you.

    I am glad someone here has the gut to speak out what a lot of people felt, but no one consdiered it being 'politically correct' to speak out.

    I am all of an example to be set for other cricketers; but is a jail sentences going to happen in other countries where no such laws exist?

    Irreversible life bans would have been a far better punishment.

    While I am extremely angered by the humiliation these 3 players have brought to my nation, I am even more concerned about other cricketers and administrators who escaped untouched.

    The fact that people who are running the show are still at large leaves a lot of problems unaddressed. How the deal with the threats of these dangerous criminals who exploit and then blackmail cricketers?

    We have cut out a stalk from this poisonous tree, but the root and probably most of the trunk remains!

  • TW on November 11, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    I completely understand the view you are presenting. However, there is more to sentencing than protection of society. One of the main functions is to serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders. Also not giving a prison sentence would set a precedent which could then be applied in future cases to allow criminals more deserving of jail time the possibility of shorter sentences or no incarceration at all. This goes beyond the realms of cricket and enters social policy and penology at the highest levels. Furthermore, your assertion that no bookmakers were defrauded is wrong because any bookmaker who accepted a bet on those events were denied a fair wager. I agree wholeheartedly that everyone in the syndicate needs bringing to justice and it a shame such talented cricketers have thrown away their careers in such a stupid fashion. Hopefully they will serve as a lesson to anybody in any sport that fixing is intolerable and not worth the risks.

  • Khurram Munir on November 11, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    cant agree more with you bro ..

  • Master Turner on November 11, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    Cricketers are paid by the taxpayers of the country....

    Millions of rupees are given to them from the national budget....

    They are among the highest paid people in the country... For what??? to cheat their nation??? No doubt they are criminals

  • Asghar on November 11, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Mr. Abbassi

    I think your only objective is to come up with a different contrarian view. These cricketers committed a crime in the rule of law - and hence they are in prison. Period. Prison is the only place for Amir, Asif and Butt - they have been proven guilty. The big mafia bosses will be too once they are caught.

    I am irritated that your column is associated with a Pakistani viewpoint. From 'Qadir is better than Warne' to this post - just senseless and not representative of Pak viewpoint.

    Asghar

  • asad ali on November 11, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    It is a bit harsh for Amir its not because he is young but only because of the knowledge and background he had ....more productive step would be a six month course to educate him and literate him about such issues........

  • Y2SJ on November 11, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    Mr.Kamran, what the trio committed was breach of trust od the millions of fans. The right thing would have been life ban in playing any professional cricket and atleast 6 years rigorous imprisonment. Ohh... and revoking their Pakistani citizenship would be fine too.

  • Rana Mudassar Khan on November 11, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    Considering that a british soldier who kicked the living daylights out of an iraqi civilian only got 12 months the same as mo asif - there is something seriously wrong.

    In isolation the decision is a fair one as they have been found guilty but when compared to what serious criminals have gotten - it is a disgrace. Especially as they have been convicted for intention to commit not an actual crime.

  • Ahmad Babar on November 11, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    110% agreed...it was easier for them to convict players but no one would dare go near the big fish for as is the norm, they are the ones running the whole show!

    Also, didn't NOTW win money when they no-balls were bowled? what happened to it?

  • Usama on November 11, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    I agree with u on that Kamran Bhai

  • prashan on November 11, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    Garbage!

  • Saud Sami on November 11, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    I agree 100% Sportsmen should only be punished by sporting bodies for sporting offences. The prosecution was over zealous in compounding the misery of the punished but not so much in catching the big fish.

  • Eliya on November 11, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Why do we even care anymore?? Stuff 'em...

    Let them (especially Butt) rot in the jail... Regarding Amir, I don't mind seeing him back on a cricket field after he completes his punishment sentence!

  • intoxicated on November 11, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    Somehow I want to agree with you Kamran, but then when I look back to all those lost matches which Pak were on the brink to win, all those matches which looked all but a win, when I look to Aamir in whom we lost one of the best bowlers and when I realize that the other black sheeps in the team would by now been trembling in their pants, I think this is the right decission. However a 30 mnoths sentence might not be appropriate and could have been similar to Asif's, a year to the max. End of the day they might just have to go through half of it which seems reasonable enough for the crimes they have comitted and to send a strong message around the fixing circle. But I really want Aamir to name all the others involved so that a full scale investigation can be carried out.

  • getsetgopk on November 11, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    Im sure we all battled long and hard to reach any satisfying conclusion to this sorry affair, personally I think sentences of Butt and Asif are apropriate and a need of the hour but I can forgive Amir for two reason first of all an 18 year old cant say no to his captain especially not in Pakistani environment secondly he's an amazing talent forget guilty or not I wana see all the magic his arm has got, we may not see another Amir in our life time so we should pull him back from prison to the cricket ground.

  • Ammar on November 11, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    Dear Kamran, I harbor no sympathy for them. Not because i wanted them to go to jail, but because they didnt admit their guilt. Despite the OVERWHELMING evidence they still decided to play out an embarrasing charade in front of the world, further humiliating themselves and their country. Kudo's to Amir's legal team for knocking some sense into him. As for the other two, their stupidity baffles me.

  • Nafees Qureshi on November 11, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    Messrs Butt & Asif kept on lying till the very end. A mere look at the text messages from Amir is enough to suggest that he was very well aware of the wrongdoing. A guilty verdict would have been enough for someone who has shown some remorse and my personal take is these guys deserved harsher sentence. We should be thanking the stars that the trial was conducted in the UK. Had it been the honourable Lahore Hight Court, the crooks would have walked out because of paucity of evidence (remember the Lal Masjid cleric). Wake up Mr Abbasi, have some coffee...

  • Muhammad Aftab Munir on November 11, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    Very Nice. This sentence is just like one culprit of so many is hanged who has just looked them committing offense...........

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  • Muhammad Aftab Munir on November 11, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    Very Nice. This sentence is just like one culprit of so many is hanged who has just looked them committing offense...........

  • Nafees Qureshi on November 11, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    Messrs Butt & Asif kept on lying till the very end. A mere look at the text messages from Amir is enough to suggest that he was very well aware of the wrongdoing. A guilty verdict would have been enough for someone who has shown some remorse and my personal take is these guys deserved harsher sentence. We should be thanking the stars that the trial was conducted in the UK. Had it been the honourable Lahore Hight Court, the crooks would have walked out because of paucity of evidence (remember the Lal Masjid cleric). Wake up Mr Abbasi, have some coffee...

  • Ammar on November 11, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    Dear Kamran, I harbor no sympathy for them. Not because i wanted them to go to jail, but because they didnt admit their guilt. Despite the OVERWHELMING evidence they still decided to play out an embarrasing charade in front of the world, further humiliating themselves and their country. Kudo's to Amir's legal team for knocking some sense into him. As for the other two, their stupidity baffles me.

  • getsetgopk on November 11, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    Im sure we all battled long and hard to reach any satisfying conclusion to this sorry affair, personally I think sentences of Butt and Asif are apropriate and a need of the hour but I can forgive Amir for two reason first of all an 18 year old cant say no to his captain especially not in Pakistani environment secondly he's an amazing talent forget guilty or not I wana see all the magic his arm has got, we may not see another Amir in our life time so we should pull him back from prison to the cricket ground.

  • intoxicated on November 11, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    Somehow I want to agree with you Kamran, but then when I look back to all those lost matches which Pak were on the brink to win, all those matches which looked all but a win, when I look to Aamir in whom we lost one of the best bowlers and when I realize that the other black sheeps in the team would by now been trembling in their pants, I think this is the right decission. However a 30 mnoths sentence might not be appropriate and could have been similar to Asif's, a year to the max. End of the day they might just have to go through half of it which seems reasonable enough for the crimes they have comitted and to send a strong message around the fixing circle. But I really want Aamir to name all the others involved so that a full scale investigation can be carried out.

  • Eliya on November 11, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Why do we even care anymore?? Stuff 'em...

    Let them (especially Butt) rot in the jail... Regarding Amir, I don't mind seeing him back on a cricket field after he completes his punishment sentence!

  • Saud Sami on November 11, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    I agree 100% Sportsmen should only be punished by sporting bodies for sporting offences. The prosecution was over zealous in compounding the misery of the punished but not so much in catching the big fish.

  • prashan on November 11, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    Garbage!

  • Usama on November 11, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    I agree with u on that Kamran Bhai

  • Ahmad Babar on November 11, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    110% agreed...it was easier for them to convict players but no one would dare go near the big fish for as is the norm, they are the ones running the whole show!

    Also, didn't NOTW win money when they no-balls were bowled? what happened to it?