Let's not think we've beaten the fixers, says Strauss as he warns against complacency
Andrew Strauss went into Tuesday’s first Test against a Pakistan side ravaged by the spot-fixing scandal pleading for anyone in cricket tainted by corruption to step forward and clean up the game.
The England captain looked on in dismay last week as Mervyn Westfield became the first English cricketer to be convicted of spot-fixing and now Strauss hopes any other transgressors will take advantage of the ECB’s three-month amnesty.
Strauss admits he was stunned when Westfield and his Essex colleague Danish Kaneria, who was released without charge, were originally arrested for spot-fixing offences in a Pro40 game between Essex and Durham. Now he hopes it is not the tip of the iceberg.
Keeping a watchful eye: Strauss urged against complacency
‘It took me completely by surprise when these allegations first came out and I’ve certainly not seen anything in county cricket during my time,’ said Strauss before this sensitive re-match against Pakistan, the first meeting between the sides since the ill-fated 2010 series. ‘But let’s not be arrogant and assume it’s not there because clearly there has been an incident and if there has been one there is a fair chance that there have been others.’
Strauss wants anyone involved in those other incidents to follow the example of Tony Palladino, Westfield’s Essex team-mate and close friend, who reported the bowler to his county when he discovered his colleague had been paid 6,000 to bowl badly.
Landmark case: Mervyn Westfield is the first Englishman convicted of spot-fixing
‘The ECB have provided an amnesty for players to step forward in the next three months and I would urge them to do that if they have any information,’ said Strauss. ‘If it is there, we need to root it out. We need to get it dealt with and move on. If you want world cricket to be in good order then you have to make sure your own house is clean first. I think there is a lot more awareness now on the back of what has happened over the last couple of years, but it’s something we have to always be vigilant about.
‘We have heavy schedules internationally and domestically and there is always the opportunity for someone to think one game is less important than another. Then they might think they can benefit from it.
‘If there is a problem then we need to see the extent of it and take steps to clean it up. This is not the time to show loyalty to team-mates, friends or people you know. This is the time to do what’s right for the game.’