Karachi: Former Pakistan Test skipper, Mushtaq Mohammad feels that the life ban imposed on leg-spinner Danish Kaneria is harsh and over-the-top. Mushtaq believed that a five-year ban should have been enough for the player.
"Cricket was Danish's profession and whilst he has erred, I don't think the disciplinary panel should have given him a ban for life. I think a ban of five years like that imposed upon Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif would have been the right punishment," said Mushtaq, who played 57 Tests for Pakistan.
"I think Danish is well within his rights to challenge the life ban through whatever means are available to him, as I think a life ban is an over-the-top punishment," he added.
The England and Wales cricket board (ECB) disciplinary panel last week found Kaneria guilty of spot fixing in county matches while playing for Essex and banned him for life and also imposed a fine of 100,000 pounds. The International Cricket Council (ICC) executive board that met in Kuala Lumpur this week also urged a worldwide ban for Kaneria.
Mushtaq, however, made it clear that he had no sympathy for erring Pakistani players.
"The Kaneria episode is another sad and embarrassing chapter for Pakistan cricket. It seems to be one thing after another for Pakistan cricket, which has been heavily dented by these players who were found guilty in the past year or so.
"In my opinion these players have no morals and they use their cricketing ability for the wrong reasons. I'm glad they have been caught and punished and it's high time that Pakistani cricketers got their house in order and cleaned up their act. They are dragging down the name of Pakistan and devaluing the green cap that has been proudly worn by many before them," said Mushtaq.
The former cricketer, who is settled in the United Kingdom now, felt that the background of the Pakistani players explained their wayward ways.
"The majority of cricketers in Pakistan come from poor families and when they come into the cricketing limelight and see so much money floating around, sadly temptation gets the better of them. When they are approached by the bookmakers, those cricketers with weak morals are then bought and tempted by the possibility of making easy money.
"They may be reluctant to get involved at first and fear the consequences of being caught. But when they succeed the first time, get away with it and receive their payments from the bookmakers, then corruption and greed grows and there is no going back. Once a player sees how easy it is to make money then others also get tempted and it spreads like a disease," said Mushtaq.
He, however, felt that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is moving in the right direction regarding the improvements they are making on education programs for young cricketers on corruption.
"I'm pleased with the efforts of the PCB and their education programs. They are heading in the right direction," added Mushtaq.