Presidency demands report on cricket scandal

Presidency demands report from PCB chief regarding the scandal that has thrown Pakistan cricket into chaos.


Atika Rehman August 29, 2010

LONDON: The Presidency has demanded a report on the fixing of the third test from the PCB chief, it said the president is concerned about the scandal.

A 35-year-old man has been arrested by Scotland Yard following the release of the story published by British newspaper News of the World on Sunday.

Faras Ghani, sports in-charge at The Express Tribune was informed by an official of Scotland Yard that the 35-year-old man had been arrested on charge of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers following the release of video footage and photographs by News of the World.

Scotland Yard has not confirmed rumours of confiscation of items from the players' hotel rooms and speculations that fast bowler Mohammed Aamer is guilty are also not confirmed.

According to a report in the Mirror, the man has been arrested over an alleged £150,000 cricket betting scandal centred around the current Test between England and Pakistan.

The man held was being investigated over claims he took £150,000 in return for information about three "no balls", alleged to have been deliberately bowled by Pakistan in England's first innings of the Test.

The News of the World reports that the fixer Mazhar Majeed had promised three specific  no-balls, but only two of them were delivered; first one by Aamer on the first ball of the third over and second by Asif on the last ball of the tenth over.

The play was abandoned due to bad light and rain, so the third no-ball didn't happen.

The fixer then called the reporter on Friday and told him that the third no-ball will be bowled by Amir on the third ball of the third over.

Mazhar Majeed has revealed he was plotting for Pakistan to lose two of the One Day Internationals (ODI) against England next month.

News of the World says Majeed assured that he could guarantee that Pakistan would lose two ODIs.

He explained many players wanted Test skipper Salman Butt to remain captain for all matches. But Shahid Afridi has been called in to lead the side for the one days and Twenty20 matches.

Pakistan's embattled cricket team were embroiled in allegations of match-fixing on Sunday after British police arrested a man on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.

The controversy erupted after the News of the World alleged some members of the Pakistan team were involved in a betting scam in the ongoing fourth and final Test against England at Lord's.

Britain's biggest-selling newspaper claimed several blatant no-balls had been delivered by Pakistan bowlers.

The weekly tabloid said it gave £150,000 ($230,000, €185,000) to a middle man who correctly told them in advance precisely when those deliveries would be bowled.

"Following information received from the News of the World we have arrested a 35-year-old man on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers," a spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police told AFP.

Despite the latest controversy swirling around the game, the International Cricket Council (ICC) insisted the fourth Test would continue as scheduled on Sunday, adding that no "players nor team officials have been arrested in relation to this incident".

Pakistan tour manager Yawar Saeed added: "I can confirm we are aware of the allegations. Scotland Yard (Metropolitan) police are with us now at our hotel and we are helping them with their enquiries.

"This is as much as I can say at the moment."

The News of the World published images and dialogue from the encounter and a picture of what it said was one of the promised no-balls delivered on Friday.

It also ran a photograph of Pakistan captain Salman Butt standing with the man they claimed was the middleman, and one of their reporters.

At the team's London hotel, fast bowler Mohammad Asif told the Press Association: "I have spoken to the management and they have told us something happened, but not what."

"The management will tell us more later. We are 100 per cent focused on the match tomorrow."

The News of the World claimed their reporters had posed as front men for an Asian gambling cartel, paying £10,000 to the alleged fixer as an upfront deposit.

They met again on Wednesday in a west London hotel room to hand over the rest of the money as their "entry ticket" into what they claimed was a "huge betting syndicate".

They claimed the middle man then correctly predicted when the no-balls would be bowled. The newspaper showed the alleged fixer with piles of cash on a table.

Meanwhile, the ICC said the match would continue as planned on Sunday at Lord's, the spiritual home of the game.

"The International Cricket Council, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have been informed by the Metropolitan Police that a 35-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers," said an ICC statement.

"The Metropolitan Police have informed the ICC, ECB and PCB that their investigations continue and ICC, ECB and PCB, with the involvement of the ICC Anti Corruption and Security Unit, are fully assisting those enquiries."

"No players nor team officials have been arrested in relation to this incident and the fourth Test match will continue as scheduled on Sunday."

"As this is now subject to a police investigation neither ICC, ECB, PCB nor the ground authority, MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), will make any further comment," it added.

Where it happened

Pakistan, who have been dogged by 'fixing' allegations since the 1990s, collapsed spectacularly yet again Saturday to leave England closing in on an innings victory.

At stumps, Pakistan, following on, were 41 for four in their second innings, having been dismissed for just 74 first time around.

That left them still 331 runs adrift of England's first innings 446 as the home team eyed a victory that would give them a 3-1 win in their final series before they begin the defence of the Ashes in Australia in November.

There was also a controversial finish to Pakistan's 2006 Test series in England.

They forfeited the final match at The Oval in south London, having refused to take the field after tea on the fourth day because they'd been penalised for ball-tampering.

Pakistan have been unable to play matches at home since an armed attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March last year effectively turned the country into a 'no-go area' for international cricket.

Guilty players should be banned for life

Any Pakistan player found guilty of match-fixing during the fourth Test against England at Lord's should be banned for life, former England batsman Allan Lamb suggested on Sunday.

Lamb, interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live, said "If any player is caught, they've got to be life banned. We've got to wait until the police investigation, who are the guilty parties, and the people caught have got to be banned for life.”

"Cricket has to go on, it can't just stop - we've got to get rid of the people involved, life ban them, and the game has to go on."

Reactions

Cricinfo reports that the players named were questioned about sums of money found in the rooms, though it is thought that those were made up of the daily allowances players are given while on tour.

According to a story in the Telegraph, the man arrested, Majeed, is believed to have contacts with the team though until now it was assumed he was acting as an agent for players, helping them secure sponsorship and kit contracts.

Majeed’s allegations about corrupt behaviour within the Pakistan camp also extended to other senior squad members. He claimed up to seven players could be 'bought’ for cash.

“I’ve been doing it [match-fixing] with them for about two-and-a-half years and we’ve made masses of money,” Majeed said.

“I manage 10 of the players, I do all their affairs like contracts, sponsorship, marketing, everything really. The players would never tell anybody else. They were the ones who actually approached me about this.

“This is the beauty of it. I was friends with them for four, five years and then they said this happens. These poor boys need to [do this]. They’re paid peanuts.”

Majeed, a property tycoon who has a controlling stake in non-league football club Croydon FC, allegedly attempted to fix elements of the Third Test at the Oval, only for his plans to fall through. He told the reporter that a deposit of £150,000 would be required to fix the result of a Test.

Majeed also claimed that Pakistan’s one-day games with England had been earmarked for rigging. Pakistan are due to play five 50-over games between Sept 5 and Sept 22, together with two Twenty20 internationals.

If proven, the claims will cast a huge shadow over the perceived integrity of world cricket, and Pakistan in particular.

The sport in Pakistan is already in turmoil as no international matches can be staged in the country due to security concerns.

The News of the World reports that as millions back home in Pakistan struggle against hunger and disease amid devastating floods, the cheats were defiling the reputation of Lord's and lining their own pockets.

In a meeting with our investigators puppet-master Majeed:

  • BRAGGED that the scam is rife and future games against England this summer are already earmarked for cheating.

  • CONFESSED his match-fixing round the world had netted customers MILLIONS.

  • REVEALED how he oversees cheating by using no-balls, specifying how many runs will be scored or conceded in certain overs, with signals such as changing gloves to confirm the fix is on.

  • ADMITTED he abuses his position as owner of non-league Croydon Athletic FC to launder his illicit gains.


The Times of India reports that the man at the center of match-fixing allegations connected to the Pakistan cricket team, which is on a tour of England, Mazhar Majeed, has revealed that he was plotting for Pakistan to lose two one-day internationals against England next month.

"Boss I'm telling you, the timing you've come into. It's perfect because the one days and Twenty20s are about to start and we're going to be making a hell of a lot money," News of The World quoted Majeed, as saying.

He incredibly said he could guarantee that Pakistan would lose two one-day internationals.

He also explained many players wanted Test skipper Salman Butt to remain captain for all matches, and were unhappy when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the national selection committee asked Shahid Afridi to lead the side for the one day internationals and Twenty20 matches.

With additional input from AFP.

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COMMENTS (50)

Majid | 10 years ago | Reply I do not know if the players are innocent or not - neither do any of us, so we should not judge them yet. But The Guardian Newspaper in the UK has just ran a story Thursday 2 September 2010 17.28 BST - written by James Robinson - http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/sep/02/mp-news-of-the-world-inquiry - It details that The News of The World paper which made the video of the betting scam uses illegal phone tappings of many public figures in the UK. Keyword here is 'ILLEGAL', this is a news paper which belongs to Rupert Murdochs News Corp. Group, and I want you to all to take a look at the where the allegations against the players have stemmed from. How can you trust a News paper which uses illegal methods to make headlines and sell papers. Before I read this story I thought wrongly of Pakistan's cricketers too, but having read this story in The Guardian newspaper about the Illegal activities of the News of the World Paper, I am now not going to jump on the bandwagon against the players, and I think they have been setup, just like Wajid Hassan says. Please take a look at the story in The Guardian newspaper's website, and The New York Times has also reported on the illegal activities of Rupert Murdochs newspaper.
azeem akram | 10 years ago | Reply we strongly condemn th negative roll played by media against our heroes.there were allegations.and oud stupid media started media trial against them.shame on pakistani media.disgusting.i m a big fan of azizi,mubashar luqman,javed chaudhery,kamran shahid.but today they show the same instinct of media,just to gain money by spicy breaking news and then giving views on them.our media persons are infact mean and greedy,not our cricket heroes.
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