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November 5, 2010
The Pakistan Cricket Board is threatening to take legal action against Mickey Arthur, the former South Africa coach, after he suggested in a recent interview that a one-day series decider between the two countries in 2007 had been influenced by match-fixers.
Arthur, however, told ESPNcricinfo that his comments were taken out of context and blown out of proportion. "I have never seen or heard anything to do with match-fixing in my time," he said. "I have been quoted as saying that I still think it was clean and have no proof whatsoever."
Pakistan cricket has been under the spotlight ever since the News of the World published allegations of spot-fixing during the Lord's Test against England back in August, and three of its players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, are currently suspended from international cricket by the ICC.
The latest allegation centres on the fifth ODI at Lahore in October 2007, which resulted in a 14-run win for South Africa - and a 3-2 series victory - after a dramatic Pakistan collapse. Chasing 234 to claim the series, Pakistan had at one stage been cruising on 198 for 4 with ten overs remaining, only for their last six wickets to tumble for 21 runs in 6.3 overs.
"There was a strong suspicion of match-fixing and it took some of the gloss off the series win," Arthur had told the South African website Sport24, ahead of the publication of his autobiography, in which the same claim is set to be made. "We did not have any proof, but when you have been involved in the game long enough, you know when something is not right. How else do you explain a batting side needing only 40 runs with seven [sic] wickets in hand, and then losing?"
The PCB, which is seeking to restore its damaged reputation in the wake of the NOTW revelations, reacted strongly to Arthur's comments, which coincided with the ongoing series between South Africa and Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
"PCB has noted with concern the statement of former South African Coach Mick[e]y Arthur insinuating that a one-day international match played at Lahore between Pakistan and South Africa in 2007 was fixed," read a PCB statement. "PCB has decided to immediately serve a legal notice on Mick[e]y Arthur asking him to share with PCB any evidence in this regard. If the evidence is not provided PCB and Pakistani players reserve the right to initiate legal proceedings against Mick[e]y Arthur including but not limited to seeking unqualified apology, retraction and damages."
"PCB reiterates that it has a zero tolerance policy towards corruption in cricket," continued the statement, "and will deal with any news concerning Pakistani players with utmost importance and due care."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.