CARDIFF: The British newspaper whose allegations of a betting scam have rocked the world of cricket said on Saturday that a fourth Pakistan player was being probed over the claims, but refused to name him.
The News of The World said the International Cricket Council (ICC), which has already suspended three Pakistani players who are under investigation for spot-fixing, is probing a fourth player over match-rigging claims.
In a statement issued ahead of its publication on Sunday, the tabloid said it was “not naming this player for legal reasons”.
Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were charged on Thursday under the ICC’s anti-corruption code following allegations in the News of the World last week. They have protested their innocence.
The paper also alleged on Saturday that investigators found in Butt’s hotel room, between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds of marked bills it had paid to a middleman to expose the alleged corruption.
Pakistan batsman Yasir Hameed, who played with the team in the Test series against England but was not selected for the forthcoming one-day matches, allegedly told the tabloid that some of his teammates were cheats.
“They’ve been caught. Only the ones that get caught are branded crooks. They were doing it (fixing) in almost every match. God knows what they were up to. Scotland Yard was after them for ages,” Hameed was quoted as saying.
“It makes me angry because I’m playing my best and they are trying to lose.”
But Hameed rejected the News of The World report as baseless and concocted. He told Express News in a telephonic interview that he had neither spoken to the tabloid on the issue nor leveled allegations of match-fixing against any team member. Hameed said that he has informed the team manager Yawar Saeed about the issue.
Asked if he would sue the British tabloid for attributing baseless story to him, Hameed said that he would take a decision after consulting the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and his lawyer.
However, the News of the World said it would be publishing full details on Sunday of the entire investigation starting in January this year including printing the transcripts of every meeting, conversation, email and text exchange.
Last Sunday, the paper alleged it paid an agent representing several Pakistan players 150,000 pounds for advance knowledge of no-balls in the fourth and final Test between England and Pakistan at Lord’s, which could then be bet upon.
The Pakistan high commissioner has claimed that the News of the World had “set up” the Pakistani cricketers. But the tabloid claimed that CCTV evidence proves the meeting with fixer Mazhar Majeed took place before any “no balls” had been bowled. Dated receipts and emails also prove the money handover happened before the “no balls”.
(AFP with additional input from News Desk)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2010.