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England Test captain Andrew Strauss has labelled the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption Unit a “toothless tiger” in the wake of the Pakistan spot-fixing convictions.

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were all jailed at Southwark Crown Court this week for corruption during the Lord’s Test in August last year.

They were brought to justice by a sting operation organised by the now-defunct News of the World rather than the ACU, which was set up 11 years ago and now operates under the chairmanship of Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the former Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

“It’s hard to be happy or satisfied when something like this happens. I think it is fantastic that there’s been some sort of repercussions for what these guys did and there’s a deterrent there,” Strauss said.

“For me, there’s still a lot of questions to be answered because they weren’t exposed by any of the cricketing members, they were exposed by the News of the World.

“I think we all know there’s no place for it in the game. We’ve got to be vigilant. I still think the ICC could be doing a lot more than they are doing.

“Unfortunately, the anti-corruption unit is a pretty toothless tiger. They can’t get into the real depth of it all because they haven’t got the resources available to them.

“I don’t hold it against them, they’re doing the best job they possibly can. They can’t do sting operations like the News of the World, they can’t infiltrate these betting networks.

“They’ve tried their best. I’m very hopeful that only a minor percentage of cricketers are involved in it, but the truth is we really don’t know.”

The spot-fixing controversy overshadowed the latter stages of Pakistan’s 2010 tour and there were tensions between the sides.

England will play Pakistan for the first time since then in January, on neutral territory in the United Arab Emirates. They could find themselves up against two players, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and former Kent pace bowler Wahab Riaz, who face a possible investigation by the ACU after suspicions were raised about them during the trial of Butt and Asif.

But Strauss said that facing players under ICC suspicion would not be an issue for England in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“You play against 11 other cricketers and one of the strong traits we try to foster within the England team is you worry about your own performance,” Strauss said.

“That’s what we’ll be doing in Dubai and it’ll be another keenly contested series as it always is against Pakistan.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board has rejected claims by Amir that Pakistan players are not given anti-corruption training.

“In March 2010 Amir signed the code of conduct for players when he was issued his central contract,” said the PCB in a statement.

“The code of conduct clearly states that by signing the player commits to abiding by all ICC rules regarding betting, match fixing, corruption, and any matter that could call into question the integrity of the game. Amir acknowledged that he understood the code and his responsibilities.

“Amir also attended anti-corruption lectures, which take place before any international tour.”

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