KARACHI: Hours after Pakistan celebrated their last-ball win over the West Indies in the opening twenty20 game, the ghost of match-fixing returned to haunt them once again.
The Daily Mail, in a report it tagged as a ‘special investigation’, said the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) was set to probe alleged ‘wrongdoings’ in the recently-held series. It claimed ‘suspicious batting patterns’ were identified during the series which Pakistan won 3-1.
The report particularly highlighted the third match of the series – in which West Indies made a stunning comeback to avoid defeat – and Pakistan’s close win in the final match. Doubts were also cast on the second match, in which Pakistan made a slow start after being set a target of 233 runs.
“Field placings for the final over [in the tied game], when number 11 Jason Holder and fellow tail-ender Kemar Roach crashed 14 off six balls from Wahab Riaz, will be scrutinised by officers of the ACSU, along with a failed run-out bid off the last delivery,” the report maintained.
“The fourth ODI, which saw Pakistan win by four wickets off the final ball, will also to be scrutinised. ACSU officers will also analyse patterns on spread-betting sites around the first 18 balls of the West Indies innings, when only one run was scored,” it added.
‘There are some classic signs [of wrong doing],’ the report quoted ECB information manager Chris Watts, who also looks into corruption in domestic cricket in England, was quoted as saying.
PCB concerned over claims
The allegations shook the Pakistan Cricket Board’s headquarters, as top officials instantly got in touch with the ICC.
“We are concerned,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune. “The PCB maintains a zero tolerance policy on corruption and we are in the loop with the ICC on this.”
“On the other hand, we are also contemplating a legal action if these allegations proved wrong,” he added, however.
An ICC spokesperson when contacted refused to speak on the matter.
“The ICC, as per its standard operating procedure, does not comment on matters relating to the ACSU,” said the official.
Meanwhile, a former cricketer expressed discontent on the report.
“Why do such premature reports come up when Pakistan is involved?” he asked. “Many suspicious games [in which Pakistan is not involved] are being played nowadays … the ACSU may be probing them too, but they don’t get the hype Pakistan receives.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.