Wasim back at centre of match-fix storm
ALLEGATIONS of corruption in Pakistani cricket have been repeated by an official report this week, and three Test players, including Lancashire captain Wasim Akram, could be suspended pending further investigations.
An inquiry for the Pakistan Board alleges that the influencing of matches for betting has become widespread, and the three-man panel, headed by Justice Chudhary Ejaz Yousuf, has recommended that Wasim, Salim Malik and Ijaz Ahmed should not play Test matches until final conclusions could be reached.
The interim report, based on interviews with current and former players and a journalist, seems to back up claims first made by three Australian players - Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh - against Malik in 1994.
Wasim has consistently denied accusations of corruption, and he said earlier this year: "I've earned good money playing top cricket. I'm not going to lose my credibility for a few pennies."
Intikhab Alam, a former captain and coach, is quoted by the report as saying he thought that match-fixing did take place.
Mohsin Khan, Pakistan's coach at the Commonwealth Games, said he had refused offers of money "home and abroad" during his career as an opening batsman.
"If all these allegations are correct, I would be the happiest person if these people were punished," said Mohsin. "You don't play cricket with Pakistan, you play for Pakistan. I was never a witness of any of these culprits - if they are culprits - but there were doubts, and like we say, where there is fire there is smoke. If they are guilty, they should suffer.
"I was approached when I was playing, but I just told these people to walk straight out of my room otherwise they would be thrown out.
"The investigating committee should make sure twice over because these players are among the best in international cricket. But if they are guilty, we should say thank you very much, goodbye and God bless you."
Potentially damning testimony was given to the inquiry by Ata-ur-Rehman, the former Test fast bowler. He describes how a one-day international against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1994 had allegedly been fixed when Malik was the captain.
The report, which was circulated at the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia, says: "A day prior to the match, Wasim Akram contacted him [Rehman] at about 8-9pm and inquired whether he would be ready to take a purse of four lakh rupees [£5,600] for doing a favour.
"On query, Akram disclosed to him that the match was fixed and all arrangements were made by Ijaz Ahmed and Salim Malik. When Pakistan took the field, Malik came to him and told him that since he had agreed to the proposal, he would have to bowl opposite to the field placements. Rehman stated that instructions were accordingly carried out and Pakistan ultimately lost the match.
"He further stated that in the Christchurch game all team members, except Rashid Latif and Aamir Sohail, were party to the betting and match-fixing business."
Sohail, the current Pakistan captain, told the committee he was offered £75,000 to "get himself out before scoring 10 runs and also to get Saeed Anwar run out in the same Sharjah match".
Anwar is quoted as saying he suspected the Singer Cup match between Pakistan and Australia in Sri Lanka in 1994 was "fixed".
Aqib Javed, the Test seam bowler, told the committee that when he turned down a bribe to lose a match it was implied he would not be included in the team as long as Wasim was captain.
Others who gave evidence were Rameez Raja and Basit Ali, both former Test players, and Fereshte Gati, a journalist.
The report says: "In order to complete the inquiry and in order to draw final findings and opinion, the examination of players accused of allegations including Akram, Malik, Ijaz, Moin Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Waqar Younis and Saqlain Mushtaq would also be necessary and imperative."
Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)