November, 3, 2011 was the saddest day in the history of cricket when Pakistan's tainted trio -- Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir -- were sentenced to jail for their involvement in spot fixing. Corruption in the game was the focus of former England captain Mike Brearley's Voice of Cricket lecture at the Raj Singh Dungarpur World Cricket Summit in Mumbai on Monday.
England's first back-to-back Ashes-winning captain urged every cricketer to become a whistle-blower. "Whistle-blowing should become an absolute duty for everyone in the game if corruption has to be weeded out. Every player has to monitor the game and mentor young players," Brearley told the gathering.
"The public becomes disillusioned due to match-fixing. They feel cheated. They (corrupt players) not only cheat the opponents, but also their own teammates," he said. Brearley recalled the return of RP Singh to the Indian team for the Oval Test earlier this year. "In the first over, he bowled five balls that went down the leg side. To this, a distinguished commentator said 'Anyone betting on five balls on the leg-side today might have made some money'. It was an explicit comment," said the Englishman, who is chairman of the MCC's World Cricket Committee.
Sympathetic However, he favoured a second chance for misguided youngsters like Mohd Amir. "The 18-year old Mohd Amir, who was subject to pressure and was, I believe, uninterested in any illegal financial gain, should have been treated much more leniently," he said before concluding, "we need to recognise that the pressure put on the young player by criminal bookies or their agents or by their corrupt teammates, can be appalling. There has to be room for giving a misguided young player a second chance."