New book reveals much July 14, 2006

Mushtaq denies Border's match-fixing allegation

Cricinfo staff

Mushtaq Mohammad, in his much-awaited autobiography Inside Out, writes about his experiences as player, captain and coach of Pakistan © Getty Images

Mushtaq Mohammad, the former Pakistan captain, has rejected claims made by Allan Border, the former Australian captain and current national selector, that Mushtaq offered him $1million to lose in fifth Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 1993.

Last week Mushtaq released a new book titled Inside Out in which he wrote that he approached Border before the Test to get autographs for his two sons. "I respected him a great deal as a player and the way he played his cricket, and he was a hero to my sons.

"That was the reason I approached him for the autographs in the first place. But I have lost respect for him as a man because he damaged my reputation and integrity.

"If I wanted to do anything like that, which I never would have, I would have done it in my playing days when I might have had more influence. I retired in 1979 and I am supposed to have tried to fix a game in 1993, after 14 years? It's laughable."

Mushtaq, however, does admit to having asked Border what he would do if some one offered him money to lose a match. "As we all know now, Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh had a bet against their own side [Headingley Test, 1981] with ridiculously high odds and made a lot of money from what was a pretty miserable result for them.

"So I said, with Marsh and Lillee in mind, 'What would you do if someone offered you big money to lose this Test match?' He just laughed it off and said he had never played his cricket like that and had always played hard and honest, which I already knew.

"That was it; tongue in cheek conversation you could call it. I never had any intention of inviting him to fix the match and he didn't take it that way." Border declined to make any comments on the book's claims.

Mushtaq has also written about his experience as the coach during Pakistan's unexpected defeat against Bangladesh in the 1999 World Cup. "I didn't want to say anything at the time and I kept quiet. If I had said something to the team or asked if it was fixed I would have rocked the boat and wrecked our whole tournament. I figured it was only one game and we had still qualified for the Super Sixes, although I had a very unpleasant feeling inside me.

"I could have exploded, but I decided for the good of the team to stay tight-lipped. It was the flurry of wickets we lost and the manner of the dismissals that made me believe something wasn't right. They were just such talented players and I couldn't comprehend that these boys could get out in the way they did.

"I was sick and it was very, very difficult for me to digest. I kept asking myself, `How could we not chase 223 against this lot? Was this pre-planned?'" Pakistan were bowled out for 161, with no batsman scoring more than 30.

He also referred to the Melbourne Test in 1978-79, when Sarfaraz Nawaz took 9 for 86 and Pakistan won by 71 runs. Mushtaq, who was the captain for the series, says that though Sarfaraz bowled an exceptional spell, the entire team "worked on the ball" and gave the seam a lift. The victory is one of four out of 29 Tests that Pakistan have played in Australia.

Mushtaq, 62, played 57 Tests and scored 343 runs at an average of 39. He was also a handy legspin bowler, and took 79 wickets at 29. He held the record of being the youngest centurion in Test cricket before Mohammad Ashraful broke it. Mushtaq now lives in Birmingham, where he settled down after retirement.