Sydney - Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has called for swift action on cricket's corruption crisis, saying there is nothing worse for the game than the shadow hanging over it.
Ponting said match-fixing and other rumours had circulated for years and he pleaded with the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption watchdog and individual boards to act quickly so players and fans could have full faith that what happens on the field was legitimate.
“We've all been aware of a certain amount of corruption in the game for a long time now and there's always just been a bit of smoke, there hasn't been much fire around it,” he said late on Wednesday.
“But like a lot of other big issues in our games, whether it's drugs or whatever, the sooner the governing bodies can get to the bottom of these issues and actually start making an example of some of the people they know are in the wrong and they know are guilty, the better off we're all going to be.
“There is nothing worse than having that (corruption) tag around, the worry about the integrity of cricket and that is what every governing body would be fearing and a lot of the players. It takes away a bit from the game they love,” he added.
Ex-New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent and his former Sussex teammate Naved Arif were last week charged with fixing in English county cricket. Vincent faces further charges dating to the 2011 and 2012 Champions League.
The most high-profile cricket fixing scandal in recent years led to the jailing of three Pakistan Test cricketers - then captain Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer in 2011.
Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria is also serving a life ban imposed in 2012 by the England and Wales Cricket Board for spot-fixing in a county match.
Ponting said he doubts Australian players were involved in match-fixing.
“I have no worries at all,” he told Australian Associated Press. “Certainly anyone that I've played with in Australian or Tasmanian teams, I can't see how it will impact on any of us - who I know, anyway.”
He added that Australian players were well-educated about corruption and he did not think they were so vulnerable.
“Probably where we're a bit different to the other countries... is we're very well-paid in Australia for what we do,” said the 39-year-old, who retired from all forms of cricket late last year and is now involved in sports management.
“It seems to me, a lot of the targets, if you like, are guys who probably haven't been paid that well during their careers.”