Salman Butt, Mohammed Amir and Muhammed Asif have been summoned to London in the ongoing spot-fixing scandal investigation.
The players were stopped from taking part in practice sessions in Taunton. They to play a practice match against Sommerset on September 2, 2010. All three players will skip team practice sessions to meet Pakistani High Commissioner in London Wajid Shamsul Hassan. They are also scheduled to meet Pakistan Cricket Board’s legal adviser in England.
End of live updates 5:07pm
Robb Smyth from the Guardian talks about cricket’s latest ‘JFK moment’.
Where were you? Cricket’s latest JFK moment occurred at around 10pm on Saturday, when the News of the World broke the story of the year. The Spin tends to deal in shocking Saturday nights but this put a new spin on an old theme. For the next hour all we could do was softly shake our head and mumble “not the kid, please not the kid”.
We knew the summer was going to belong to Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, but we thought it was for what they did with the ball, not their front foot. If they did bowl deliberate no-balls – and the evidence looks horrible, particularly the picture of Salman Butt starting at the bowler rather than the batsman – it is obvious that they must be dealt with severely, yet the widespread calls for life bans are surely, at this stage, over the top.
Celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had sued News of the World over a false story on the couple’s break-up earlier this year.
When the News of the World ran a front page story last month declaring the couple were splitting up after six years and as many children, and dividing their £205m joint fortune, the pair decided enough was enough, and wrote to the paper to demand an apology for these “false and intrusive allegations”.
‘Spot fixing occurs in almost all matches’ – while Pakistan may have been busted in this scandal, one Mumbai-based bookmaker explains what spot-fixing is, and alleges that it occurs in almost all matches.
Bookie: We call spot fixing fancy fixing. That is another name for spot fixing.
NDTV: Why do you call it fancy fixing?
Bookie: We call it so because there are no deals when the match is on. We decide what is to be done after five overs or after ten overs. We also decide when no-balls are to be bowled. Sometimes officers and umpires get involved too.
NDTV: Where did this term come from?
Bookie: This is a term that has been in use for a while.
NDTV: But why do you use this word? What is the meaning?
Bookie: We call it fancy fixing because the deals are not made ball to ball. The deals are made keeping in mind what will happen at the end of ten overs, what will happen at the end of fifteen overs, we decide on whether a player will make a century or will he get out.
Stephen Moss writing for The Guardian holds a soft spot for the Pakistan cricket team, calling for an’understand and repair’ approach, rather than ‘condemn and punish’.
think about the psychology of this team. They have been on the road for months, in Australia and England, living in anonymous hotels, bored to death, surrounded by sycophants and bloodsuckers offering them gifts and money … and perhaps suggesting that if they don’t take the easy option bad things might befall their families back home in Pakistan. Current and former England players, blessed with the stability and comparative riches of the game here, have rushed to judgment without knowing any of the true facts or trying to understand the pressures on the Pakistan players.
Shane Watson suspects Pakistan’s culture may be to blame for the cricket scandal.
“Whether it’s in their culture I don’t know, I don’t know how deep it runs, but it’s unfortunate that someone of his skill has got tied up with something that is damaging to cricket and to the individuals. I found him to be a brilliant competitor on the field.”
Back to the conspiracy theory:
The story has too many holes. Exactly who recieved £150,000? Where has the cash disappeared? Why did a Sky Sports reporter have a 90 minute heads up? Things don’t add up. – Shaikh Hassaan Ainul Yaqin
Former skipper Wasim Akram says spot-fixing allegations might have brought turmoil in Pakistan cricket but it would be hasty to label the players as culprits.
“The team morale is down big time, there is a controversy in which six to seven players are involved. The media in Pakistan has already given their verdict on these allegations but one must wait for the allegations to be proven.”
Twitter users from Pakistan express a mix of bitter humour and frustration.
fifiharoon 7 #Pakistan cricketers summoned home to face treason charges #pakcricket #crickethttp://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/31/2998806.htm
Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Tuesday that there might be a conspiracy behind the match-fixing scam.
“We will believe only when we have concrete evidence with us.”
The conspiracy theory argument is also making the rounds on Twitter.
Sambit Bal, Editor Cricinfo gives a sympathetic nod to the Pakistan cricket team.
Before anything else, let this be said. No two cricketers have brought more joy in the last 12 months to the true lover of the game than Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif. Say what you must about the spectacles of strokeplay or close finishes in the shorter forms, there is nothing quite as sensational, or dramatic, as a pair of quick bowlers bursting through a batting line-up.
The Sun quoted Test umpire Darrell Hair, as saying Pakistan has allegedly been up to throwing ‘suspect’ no-balls and wides for some time.
“It didn’t shock me at all. When the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit was formed a decade ago they went around the world and spoke to all the leading umpires… and they said there were concerns in tournaments in places like Sharjah that the Pakistanis were bowling (deliberate) no balls and wides. But they have not been able to get any proof.”
Investigations by The Express Tribune reveal that a London-based source close to the Pakistan team shared his earlier worries with regards to the Majeed brothers, Mazhar and Azhar.
Former friend and actor Veena Malik claimed in a programme on Express TV to have evidence of the fast bowler’s involvement in match-fixing.
Video update: Imran Khan says exemplary punishment is due for those player involved in spot fixing.
Video update: Ramiz Raja comments along the same lines.
Aitzaz Ahsan quoted in The Independent on cricket scandal:
It’s very shameful and very disturbing. It’s not just affecting cricket, but is a blow to the very body politic of Pakistan.
Former Pakistan cricket coach Geoff Lawson has made some startling revelations from times when he used to coach the embattled side. Trying to give an insight into Pakistani players’ alleged role in spot fixing, Lawson believes there’s much more at stake than just money.
The former Australian fast bowler, who coached the team between 2007 and 2008, said if the allegations were proved, it could well be related to extortion, threats, and the well-being of their own family members. He said it would not be surprising if illegal bookmakers had told players to perform X and Y if they wanted their families to be safe.
Video updated of Rehman Malik weighing in on the cricket scandal.
A Cricinfo report states that former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has said he is concerned about the long-term repercussions the match-fixing crisis could have on the country’s cricketing establishment but feels it is a chance for the authorities to act in a manner that would discourage future cricketers from considering such activities.
“If they are proved, not just in terms of the best players in the team being implicated but from the public point of view, they would not understand the finer points of the game and each time they lose they will think it’s a fixed match.”
Stern action may follow
Federal Minister for Sports Aijaz Jakhrani has said that stern action would be taken against national cricketers if they are found guilty of spot-fixing.
Talking to Express 24/7, Jakhrani said that an investigation into allegations of the betting scam is underway, and it’s too early to say anything. He said that no charges have been pressed against any player yet.
Exemplary punishments and possible loopholes
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday vowed to take swift action if betting scam allegations against Pakistan were proven as damaging claims threatened the sport’s credibility.
ICC said corruption would not be tolerated and anyone found guilty of “spot-fixing” would be punished as the allegations of bowling pre-arranged no-balls engulfed top Pakistan players.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said that they were conducting their own inquiry and would take action against any guilty players.
The ICC had a “zero-tolerance approach to corruption in cricket”, he said in a statement Monday.
Scope for leniency?
A Yahoo! Eurosport UK article states that the ICC’s anti-corruption code, which lays out a very specific procedure that must be followed in the case of spot or match-fixing, leaves scope for leniency depending on the situation.
Any allegations must first be referred to the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit’s (ACSU) general manager for investigation.
If he, in consultation with the ICC’s CEO and legal head, determines there is a case, the player will be sent a notice.
Factors that could influence the tribunal to issue a harsher punishment include a lack of remorse on the part of the player, a history of transgressions and whether the amount of the money received by the player was substantial.
Actions that affect the outcome of the match are to be judged more harshly than those that do not.
Feel free to add updates in the comments section below.