LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi has expressed his disappointment at the way British police reacted to the spot-fixing allegations and confirmed that the board is prepared to take legal action against the News of the World.
The British tabloid reported that Mazhar Majeed, a British bookmaker, offered money to Pakistan fast-bowlers Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif for bowling deliberate no-balls in the Lord’s Test against England. While none of the players or officials were arrested, Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed did confirm that mobile phones of captain Salman Butt, Aamir and Kamran Akmal were confiscated.
“We are currently in talks with a British law firm as well as the local barristers to start legal proceedings against the newspaper,” Rizvi told The Express Tribune from London where he is accompanying the team. “We are taking ever possible measure and establishing our rights according to the English law to start a defamation case against the publisher once the ongoing police investigation and the pending case shuts down.”
The fourth morning of the Lord’s Test was played under the cloud of controversy with the revelations, and Majeed’s arrest late Saturday evening, with the Pakistan team bus pelted with tomatoes as it made its way out of Lord’s after Pakistan worst Test loss - an innings and 254 run thrashing.
Rizvi, however, expressed his surprise over the way the police reacted to the newspaper’s claims that followed room-search of four Pakistani players including the captain.
“It is very disappointing, especially the way the British police reacted without having any concrete evidence. They merely acted in response to a newspaper report without establishing facts and the truth as far as our players were concerned.
“Interestingly, the arrested person has also been released by the police on bail. And while the investigation is currently on, no evidence has been established against any of our players. If any of the players’ agents are involved in such activities then it should not be an automatic perception that the players also are tainted and follow similar activities.”
Rizvi also admitted that the players were stunned following the allegations made against them. “Obviously the morale of every player is down and such incidents leave a negative influence on the individuals and the team as whole.”
An entire generation has been left rudderless and hopeless by the acts of its favourite players. It’s a disaster and will take a long time for the wounds to heal.
I’m furious with Pakistan for going down this road again. My hope is that if the allegations are true, the authorities are strong. We’re back to the sad, bad old days.
World cricket must not turn its back on Pakistan, who deserve one more chance. Cricket, especially the Test game, is not in rude health that it can dismiss Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2010.