The Pakistan cricket team has been embroiled in a fair number of controversies over the years, but their latest one also happens to be their worst one yet.

Some of the most prominent players in their lineup have been accused of match-fixing and there seems to be conclusive evidence to the fact.

Their star opener, Salman Butt, along with Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamir were found guilty of match-fixing and subsequently banned from any more international matches by the International Cricket Council (ICC). In a recent twist to the case, they were all given prison sentences of a few years. This is something that hasn’t gone down especially well with some of the current and ex-players of Pakistan.

Shoaib Akhtar, the Pakistani side’s star pacer, recently said that the prison sentences were too harsh on the players. While he didn’t condone their activities, he said that the ban had effectively ruined their careers and there was no need to put them behind bars.

He said that they could have been more useful if they had been made to do some social service instead. The image of Pakistan cricket has always been under a shadow of doubt and the recent spate of controversies has done nothing to better it. The speedster also commented sharply on the ineptness of the lawyer saying that he had an inferiority complex.

The Pakistan cricket team will face England in UAE for a tournament. Kevin Pietersen, one of England’s star batsmen, has said that the events of 2010 will not be mentioned during the games to badly influence the Pakistani players.

Pietersen was part of the England team that Pakistan was playing when the news about the match fixing surfaced. But if both sides can let the bygones be bygones, cricket fans will have a tantalizing series ahead of them between two of the top cricketing nations in the world.