ICC discussing reintegration of banned players
David Richardson, the ICC's chief executive, has said that the governing body is discussing amendments to its anti-corruption code that will allow banned players to play competitive cricket at domestic level within a certain period before the end of their bans.
The amendments, if approved, will be important for the Pakistan trio of Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, who were found guilty of spot-fixing during the Lord's Test of Pakistan's 2010 tour of England by an ICC tribunal. The three players were slapped bans by the tribunal: Butt got 10 years, Asif seven and Amir received a five-year ban from playing all forms of cricket.
"The revised code is being discussed in the meetings and hopefully we could bring it to you in finality in the November meeting," Richardson told reporters in Dubai. "There is a provision now in the revised code which will allow a player who has been banned internationally to play domestic cricket a certain period up from his ban coming to an end."
A five-member ICC sub-committee was set up after the 2013 annual conference to review the anti-corruption code and had been working to amend certain provisions. The tribunal that had banned Pakistan players had also recommended to the ICC certain changes to the code with a view to providing flexibility in relation to minimum sentences in exceptional circumstances.
The case, however, isn't very straightforward in the instances of Butt and Asif, who have reportedly not complied with all the conditions of their ban. Five out of Butt's ten-year ban from any cricketing activities were to be a suspended sentence on condition that he would commit no further breach of the anti-corruption code and participate in a PCB-controlled anti-corruption education programme. Asif had to follow similar conditions in his seven-year ban of which two years were a suspended sentence. Butt had indicated his willingness to participate in the PCB and ICC's rehabilitation programmes but Asif, it is believed, has not approached the Pakistan board.
Richardson said the anti-corruption education programmes were helping though the game faced threats as fixers looked for opportunities to approach players.
"Reasonably we are on top of the things and have things under control," Richardson said. "What has been very encouraging is the level of the support of every player. We went through a phase over the last five when players were very reluctant to come forward to share any information and we were operating in the dark.
"But now through the education the player gets lectures in every tournament and the fact is now we are getting the report of even the most innocent approaches that possibly could start something. So to me it's a very good sign. But the threat is not diminishing. In fact, you get the feeling you get these fixers are all around the world and they looking for every opportunity, finding new ways of reaching out to the players through social media as they are trying to stay ahead of us and we have to try and stay up and speak [about] what they are trying to do."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson