Spot fixing October 25, 2010

Tauqir Zia says PCB was warned of bookie links

ESPNcricinfo staff

Tauqir Zia, the former chairman of the PCB, has said the board was warned before the tour of England that some of its players had links to illegal bookmakers. Zia, who was chairman from 1999 to 2003, made his claims on a special episode of the Australian investigative journalism TV program Four Corners, which will air on Monday.

"They were warned," Zia said. "The Pakistan Cricket Board should have been very careful. The Pakistan management, the manager, and everybody should have been careful. I have been told...that six, seven players they ought to be careful because they (the ICC) have seen their connections or read their SMSs."

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were suspended after allegations they were involved in spot-fixing during the series in England. Zia also said that during his time as chairman, he had been asked to select a player who was allegedly involved in fixing, but refused to choose the player.

"I was a serving army officer and there's a gentleman who rings me up and said 'so and so should be included in the team because he fixes matches and we get money'. So I said you are threatening a man in uniform ... you go to hell and that man is not going to be put in the team. And he never was included in the side."

Four Corners also reports that the ICC had concerns about the player agent Mazhar Majeed when he was in Australia during Pakistan's tour in 2009-10, but did not pass on their concerns to Cricket Australia. Months later, Majeed was secretly filmed by the News of the World, apparently correctly predicting no-balls that would be bowled in the Lord's Test.

"These are leads that we have to follow through and be quite confident before we make allegations, and it was the subject of an ongoing investigation," the ICC's chief executive Haroon Lorgat said. "We were not satisfied of the extent of his activities and we needed to be quite confident before we levelled any accusations."