Pakistan in England 2010

Players were told not to meet Majeed brothers

Osman Samiuddin

August 29, 2010

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Salman Butt was at the centre of controversy as he arrived at Lord's for the fourth day, England v Pakistan, 4th Test, Lord's, August 29, 2010
Salman Butt's team has been plunged into a controversy over spot-fixing © PA Photos
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The Pakistan team was warned about meeting Mazhar and Azhar Majeed by the team management at the start of their tour to England. One of the brothers, Mazhar, was arrested last night by Scotland Yard on suspicion of a conspiracy to defraud bookmakers, after being caught on video by the News of the World (NOTW) offering to bribe Pakistan's bowlers to bowl no-balls on demand during the Lord's Test.

The brothers are agents who represent a number of Pakistan's players in the UK, helping them secure sponsorships for cricket equipment among other things.

"When we started this tour, I told the players they should not be entertaining these two in their hotel rooms," Yawar Saeed, the team manager, told Cricinfo. "These boys are their agents and, anywhere we tour in the world, we tell our players that they are not allowed to have agents in their hotel rooms. It is the policy on the tour."

The team management had warned players as soon as they landed in London against meeting these two brothers because of suspicions about some of their activities, Pakistan's leading Urdu paper Jang had reported on July 27. The reporter, Abdul Majid Bhatti, said he received calls from men claiming to represent the brothers soon after the story appeared, threatening legal action.

NOTW claimed that seven Pakistan players were involved, though only four have been named so far. Saeed confirmed to Cricinfo that "one or two were questioned by Scotland Yard," last night soon after the story broke. He dismissed reports that the passports of several players had been taken away, saying that all passports were in the possession of the team management.

"Scotland Yard are now investigating and we will assist them in whatever way they may need," Saeed said. "I cannot say anything more right now."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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