Players in a fix: phone records, assets to be investigated

ICC has requested that players hand over records of phone call made during the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka this summer.


Atika Rehman/express September 07, 2010

International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit has written to wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal and suspended captain Salman Butt, requesting they hand over records of their mobile phone calls made during this summer's Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.

The ICC unit wrote to the players last month, before the recent allegations made about spot-fixing.

There is still a response to be received from the Pakistan Camp.

Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir have been suspended by the ICC, while investigations continue into claims by a British tabloid that they were involved in spot fixing.

Probe into players' property

According to a report in the Telegraph, the Pakistan team will have their earnings and assets examined by tax officials following the allegations of fixing during the Lord’s Test.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also been ordered to submit all expenses paid to players, selectors, coaches and managers over the same period as the Pakistani government takes its first major step to combat corruption after the suspension of three players last week for alleged spot-fixing.

The Federal Bureau of Revenue has told its regional officers to collect details on bank accounts, assets, property and even cars owned by past and present cricketers who have played international cricket since 2005.

The lavish lifestyles of Pakistan’s cricketers have been raked over in the Pakistani media since the allegations of spot-fixing hit the team last week.

“There is a greed for money in our society and our players are part of this society,” said Tauqir Zia, who, as the PCB chairman, supervised the first judicial inquiry into match-fixing claims between 1998 and 2000.

“Our cricketers come from humble backgrounds, they lack proper education and think their only chance to earn money is while they are playing, so they want to earn as much as they can and the match-fixing circle is vicious once you enter it. There is no way out.”

It has emerged that Asif, one of the three interviewed by police, has four homes in Pakistan, including an Italianate mansion in Lahore. Many of the team are also believed to have invested their legitimate earnings in property, including farms.

But news of the inquiry was greeted with scepticism in a country where the rich and powerful are routinely shielded from scrutiny. “I have my reservations about whether this will be carried out properly. I hope that it is,” said Tariq Azim, an opposition member of the Senate Standing Committee on Sport.

“But lots of questions are asked here about where people get their wealth - going to the very top - and the investigations are never seen through.”

How they allegedly spent their cash

Captain Salman Butt is one of the team's biggest earners. Owns three houses in Lahore and is reported to be having a two-storey villa worth £300,000 built in the same city.

Mohammad Asif is said to own four properties, including an Italianate-style villa in Lahore – worth around £650,000 – one in Karachi and another in his native Shikhupura.

Young bowler Mohammad Aamir has little family wealth, although his sponsorship deals with Pepsi and BoomBoom were lucrative.

Age is no defence for Amir

Pakistan Cricket Board's associate manager Shafqat Rana has said pacer Mohammad Aamir's age will have no effect on any possible punishment if spot-fixing claims against him are proved.

Rana told reporters at Sophia Gardens that Amir should be treated like any other player and said there is no exception for Amir, adding that fans in Pakistan want everything in the best spirit of the game.

Rana also welcomed a reported probe into players' finances by the Pakistani tax authorities.

As cricket bosses grappled to find a way out of the spot-fixing mess involving Pakistan players, social networking forum twitter was flooded with comments from fans expressing disgust at the latest scandal to hit the game.

Fans tweet their disapproval

According to a story on a cricket website, disappointed cricket fans from India have expressed their frustration with the scandal on social networking website Twitter.

Cricket lovers termed the alleged involvement of three cricketers from across the border in the scam as a "slur on the game" and even put the blame on the advent of Twenty20 and its biggest show, the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL).

"With the advent of T20 cricket and more so the cash-rich IPL, match fixing has had a new life altogether it seems. I believed that it has been pricked from its roots since the scandal that broke out a decade earlier involving Mohd. Azharuddin and co… Cricket is spoiled and I admit that keeping a stone in my heart! I used to love the game," a middle-aged businessman Gopal Manna tweeted.

SANFAN01, a 19-year-old college goer, did not hesitate to point fingers at the Pakistan players on the social networking forum, which has been gaining in popularity.

"Being not just only a cricket fan, but also a citizen of a country, this was absolutely nauseating from the Pakistan cricket players involving in such a felony. It was not only a slur on the game which they live on but also they are sordid blemishes as the citizens of their country," he said.

Another youth, Soham Dey, asked the apex International Cricket Council (ICC) to initiate steps to save the game.

"As a cricket fan, it is my utter displeasure to see the game being entrenched with the vulgar title of match fixing. Although this title got its birth long ago (referring to the Hansie Cronje chapter), the title being reincarnated in the recent Pak scandal was shameful. I would like to see the ICC come forward and take some steps as the parent body of the game. Cricket should retain its status as a sport instead of becoming a business."

With more hidden skeletons tumbling out with each passing day, it seems cricket is confronted with one of its gravest crises.

COMMENTS (3)

faisal shaji | 11 years ago | Reply This all provides us the opportunity to bring up a new look cricket side. There are so many good players who have been constantly ignored. No player in the present team is indespensable. Hence a new look side with a mix of old discarded players be chosen alongwith a foreign coach and new modeled cricket board.
SALMAN | 11 years ago | Reply Okk I Think That the pakistani Cricket Team Is Not Foible The all the Blames Of Our Paki nations They Are Not Eligible to That they connectedly to the good team
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