London, Feb 3: Two of the three Pakistani cricketers suspended on spot-fixing charges face life bans as the International Cricket Council (ICC) attempts to stamp out corruption ahead of the World Cup 2011.
The then Pakistan captain Salman Butt and pacer Mohammad Asif face the maximum sentence when their case reconvenes in Doha on Saturday, Express.co.uk reported.
The third player, 18-year-old Mohammad Amir, is expected to be given a five-year ban- a lighter sentence reflecting his age and gullibility at taking instructions from Butt, it added.
England"s players will welcome harsh sanctions on the Pakistanis, the report said, adding that they were close to refusing to play Pakistan in the NatWest one-day series at the end of last summer, following newspaper claims that no-balls had deliberately been bowled in the Lord"s Test.
The tainted trio had denied the spot-fixing charges at the initial ICC hearing in early January, and the judgment was deferred until February 5 because, it is believed, the ICC wanted to make sure there were no legal loopholes in the case.
The ICC is determined to spell out that it will not tolerate any form of match-rigging before the World Cup, which starts on February 19.
The ICC"s Anti-Corruption Unit will be out in force at the mega event, and security measures around the teams will be stricter than ever.