Saqlain Mushtaq appears before Justice Qayyum (29 November 1998)

29 November 1998

Saqlain Mushtaq appears before Justice Qayyum

By Our Sports Reporter

LAHORE, Nov 28: Test off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, deposing before the one-man inquiry commission of Mr Justice Malik Muhammad Abdul Qayyum, has denied of being involved himself or having any knowledge of match-fixing or betting by any Pakistani cricketer.

Appearing before the learned judge on Saturday, hesaid that he could not say with certainty whether Salim Malik's call, on which he was run out during a match in the Sahara Cup Cricket Tournament against India in 1997, had a bad intention. Saqlain Mushtaq was replying to a question by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) legal representative Ali Sajjad during the hearing. The lawyer had quoted national coach Haroon Rashid of having said that Salim Malik had got Saqlain Mushtaq run out by giving a "wrong call".

Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum asked Saqlain Mushtaq whether it was correct that Salim Malik had given him a call to take a risky single when Pakistan required only 15 runs for a win with three overs remaining and there was no particular hurry to take that run?

"Yes! that call for run can be called as risky! However, I cannot say that Salim Malik had got him run out intentionally. We have been taking singles in the past which used to be risky. A lot many things happen in cricket", replied Saqlain.

Ali Sajjad was representing the PCB in the absence of legal advisor Ali Sibtain Fazli, who is reported to have gone abroad but expected to come back to Pakistan soon.

When advocate Ali Sajjad was asked by Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum whether the SHO, Qila Gujar Singh and the gamblers he had claimed to have apprehended who were involved in betting and match-fixing had come, he replied in the negative. The judge asked the PCB representative to summon him and others again on Monday.

Ali Sajjad told this reporter that Test cricketers Zahid Fazal and Asif Mujtaba would be summoned in next hearing. He said that Azhar Mahmood might not be now asked to depose before the judge about "change in batting order".

The PCB legal representative Ali Sajjad also asked Saqlain MUshtaq about national coach Haroon Rashid's allegation that he (Saqlain) had bowled badly against India in a one-day match at Karachi which Pakistan had lost. The learned judge said that did not he (Saqlain) had the reputation of being a very economical even during "slog overs", Saqlain Mushtaq replied:

"Sir, it had also appeared in the newspapers that during the closing stages of that match, the white ball became dirty and had to be changed. The authorities could not provide a used ball and a new ball had to be rubbed and that was handed over to me. Perhaps because of its hardness, I could not bowl well and conceded runs which brought a win to India!"

Incharge Sports Cell, Daily Jang, Shahid Sheikh was the only other person, besides Saqlain Mushtaq, who appeared before the inquiry commission on Saturday.

The learned judge asked him (Shahid Sheikh) to consult his record and depose before the court about an interview in which Mr Khalid Mahmood had been quoted as having said that he had "some information" about the match-fixing and betting being done by the Pakistani cricketers.

"Sir, I have gone through my record and read the report of my newspaper thoroughly. I want to bring on record that during a Jang Forum (not an interview) in which Intikhab Alam and some others were also present, Mr Khalid Mahmood (who was member of the PCB and not chairman as he is now), he had stated that he had some knowledge about match-fixing and betting being done by some Pakistani Test cricketers. Moreover, he had said that if the PCB orders a probe, he will pass on the information to that committee", said Shahid Sheikh in unambiguous words.

The inquiry commission will hold the next hearing on Nov 30. x Source :: Dawn (http://dawn.com/)