Muralitharan believes the sport’s reputation will be in serious trouble if match-fixing continues to happen
Sri Lanka spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan has called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to ban anyone caught match-fixing right away, in light of the recent sting operation conducted by India TV, which showed six umpires will to accept money in return of making favourable decisions.
The umpires indicted in the sting operation were Pakistan’s Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka’s Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage.
So far, Ghauri and Shah are the only two umpires who have publicly denied any wrongdoing.
The ICC have ordered an investigation into the matter, and Muralitharan believes that if they are found guilty, then they should receive the harshest possible punishment.
Speaking exclusive with Reuters, Muralitharan said: “Definitely, people that do these things should be punished for life. They, at any level, should not be tolerated, I think the ICC are doing the right thing…if they are found guilty, they will definitely be punished.”
This is just the latest chapter of match-fixing being reported in cricket, as in 2010 Pakistan’s Mohammad Aamir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt all received prison sentences for their role in a match-fixing scandal that rocked the cricketing world to its core.
However, Muralitharan believes that if the ICC do not choose to hard out harsh punishments to those who are proven to be guilty, then the illegal trade will continue to occur in the sport.
“I think they (the ICC) are doing the right things but there are always bad eggs in everything, in society there are good people and bad people and it has always been like that, but fortunately they get caught so that means cricket is getting cleaner and cleaner. I think ICC are doing a lot of education (programmes for players). Cricket boards, match referees, management (are also) educating, so there is enough education,” Muralitharan said.