Spot-fixing controversy

Hameed denies newspaper revelations

Osman Samiuddin and Nagraj Gollapudi

September 5, 2010

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The News of the World front page, September 5, 2010
Further match-fixing allegations are emerging from the News of the World © News of the World
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The Pakistan opener, Yasir Hameed, has clarified a string of allegations attributed to him in the News of the World, claiming that he was only repeating information he had read in the newspaper's original report last Sunday.

Hameed was the victim of an undercover video sting in this Sunday's paper, in which he is seen talking to a man, the undercover reporter, in Nottingham a few days after the end of the Test series. Hameed spent Sunday at the Pakistani High Commission issuing a statement read out by PCB legal advisor Taffazul Rizvi which re-iterated the comments made to ESPNcricinfo late on Saturday

Hameed says the man came to him claiming to be a representative of a global airline and wanted to talk about possible sponsorship deals. "I have never spoken to the NOTW and I haven't said anything like this," he told ESPNcricinfo. "I was only talking about what I had heard from the original NOTW reports anyway."

In his statement, Hameed said that after discussing sponsorship deals, the man he knew by the name of Abid Khan, offered him a sum of £25,000 to give a statement against his three team-mates who found themselves at the centre of the spot-fixing controversy to which Hameed said, he, "immediately refused and put the phone down. I was neither called nor answered any calls from Abid after this conversation."

Hameed says his last dealings with Abid Khan came in the form of a text message which read: "Pls call me. Incidentally you are in video drinking wine and saying all the quotes attributed to you. Denying it is just stupid as we will be releasing the video on tv. Better that you stand up and speak the truth".

In his statement, Hameed also published the phone number from where the text message was sent, but when ESPNcricinfo dialled it, it was directed to the Metropolitan Police control room. A spokesman for Scotland Yard suggested that the number had been put on call-divert by the owner of the mobile phone, and confirmed that it was not coming through to an emergency hotline. The spokesman also added that the matter would be looked into.

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain, was dismissive of Hameed. "I think he is 30, 31, but mentally he is 15, 16," he said after the Twenty20 at Cardiff. "I don't know with who he was sitting or in which situation he gave this message, I don't know but we have known him for a long time and we can expect anything from him. He has been doing these type of things a lot of time."

And when pressed on whether Hameed was unreliable he added: "Yeah, the people know which type of character he is."

During the course of the video referred to by "Abid", which is now available to view on the NOTW website, Hameed discussed the fall-out of the controversy, the Sydney Test and Hameed's claim that a bookie approached him during the 2004 Champions Trophy in England.

At one point the reporter asks him, "These guys must talk about it among themselves, right, they must do it definitely? They say they did it in every match."

"Nearly," Hameed replies.

"Sure?" the reporter asks.

"God knows," Hameed says before alluding to what he has read. "This is what reports say, Scotland Yard has been after them for long."

In another bit, the reporter talks to Hameed about the Sydney Test in Australia, which Mazhar Majeed - the man at the centre of the allegations - claimed last week was fixed.

The reporter, having heard Hameed tell him that he was not associated with Majeed, asks him, "But man they did it in Australia as well, in Australia you didn't play?"

"No," says Hameed.

"You didn't play in Australia, even there they did something bad."

"In the Sydney Test, £1.8 million," says Hameed.

However, Hameed told ESPNcricinfo that the figure only came up from the NOTW itself. "That figure in the video of the Sydney Test, £1.8 million, I didn't just dream up that figure from nowhere, it was there in NOTW [it was actually 1.3 million]."

Talk then comes to Hameed's position within the side and he appears in the video to blame whatever is happening within the side on his own dropping from the team. "Of course why not? Because of these bad things I am out, I never got involved," he says. "If you sit here and say I am a bookie and that you have to fix the match tomorrow, now I've met lots of people like this in the past..."

"They approached you?" the reporter interrupts.

"Yah I refused," Hameed replies.

"Good, good," says the reporter.

"They offered me handsome money," Hameed continues. "I would've come to you in a Ferrari now. I mean there is enough so that your desires are fulfilled...buy a car, that is how much money they were giving."

"How much did they offer?" asks the reporter.

"Man, they've offered big big money. Up to £150,000," says Hameed.

The newspaper claimed that this offer was made to Hameed during the 2004 Champions Trophy semi-final between Pakistan and West Indies, which Pakistan lost after choosing to bat first on a seaming pitch.

But Hameed told ESPNcricinfo he had not specified the semi-final. "I never talked about the Champions Trophy semi-final of 2004. I said that during that tournament someone had come up to me in a hotel and indicated he might want to do something like that and I had told him to get lost straight away. The guy [undercover reporter] asked me which Champions Trophy that was and I said the one in which we lost in the semis to West Indies. I did not mean that match specifically."

ICC sources close to the investigation confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that they were unaware of any such approach made to Hameed, which would mean, if the allegations are true, the player himself would be in breach of the Anti-Corruption Code of Conduct for failing to follow the proper procedures.

Article 2.4.2 states it is an offence if a player fails "to disclose to the ACSU (without undue delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the Player or Player Support Personnel to engage in conduct that would amount to a breach of the Anti-Corruption Code."

Hameed was recalled to the Pakistan side after a gap of over two years and played in the last two Tests of the current series. He was not selected for the limited-overs series but chose to stay on in the UK for a few more days.

The allegation is one of a host of additional strands to the NOTW's coverage of the match-fixing scandal, including the suggestion that the ICC are investigating an unnamed fourth Pakistan player.

Also revealed in an eight-page special produced by the newspaper, they claim that Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, who have been questioned by police twice this week since the initial story broke last weekend, are facing 23 charges between them.

The paper also hit back at claims of Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK, that the players were set up by NOTW. The paper published details and dates of CCTV footage and text messages proving, what it claims to be meetings between the undercover reporter and Majeed before the Lord's Test.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that no new arrests have been made in relation to the ongoing case.

Additional reporting by Andrew Miller

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo, Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor

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