While there had been talk of imposing life bans on the three Pakistani players convicted in the spot-fixing case, it has suirfaced that the ICC tribunal was actually considering giving lower sentences than they eventually handed out to Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, or at least to two if not to all three players.
In fact, at the time of announcing the judgement, the tribunal included the possibility of commuting or suspending the bans from 10 years for Butt and 7 years for Asif to five years for both players.
According to reports, the jurists felt that the evidence proved only that the infractions fell short of match fixing and ought to be distinguished from it.
"The judge has said there is a need to amend the law which is a good thing," the Age quoted Butt, as saying.
"As soon as [the ICC code of conduct] is amended [my suspension] could be reduced. And we can go to court of arbitration, so there is still hope," he added.
Under the ICC code, the banned players have 21 days to appeal to the International Court of Arbitration in Sports (CAS).
In the meantime, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat expressed satisfaction at the severity of the punishments, saying that they would serve as a deterrent and precedence to similar sort of corrupt practices in the future.
"I'm satisfied that the sanctions delivered are severe enough to send out a clear message that the ICC will not stop short at anything to prosecute any player found wanting in this area of corruption. I don't believe the sentences are lenient by any stretch of the imagination."
Lorgat added that he thought the sentences "will make it extremely difficult for them to return to the Test format. It is at the prime of their careers that they are faced with punishment. I don't want to speculate what may happen in future."