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July 29, 2009
Yawar Saeed, Pakistan's manager in Sri Lanka, has denied reports that the players were "approached by suspicious characters" at their team hotel during the two Colombo Tests earlier this month. Saeed was quoted by Express, an Urdu daily, saying that some of the players had complained to him about the presence of undesirable people in the team hotel.
"No such thing happened," Saeed told Cricinfo. "There are usually many other guests at the hotel, who want autographs and photographs with the players, and then maybe invite them for a coffee or something. I just instructed the players not to go out with people they didn't know from before. And that is the usual protocol."
The Express had quoted Saeed as saying: "Yes we were told by some of the players that a few suspicious people approached them during the Colombo Tests. We lodged a complaint with the hotel management, and they immediately shifted all of us to another floor of the hotel."
One of the players confirmed to Cricinfo that some of them were indeed approached in the team hotel by "a few undesirable elements" who invited them for tea and dinner. "The players refused and informed the team management," he said.
According to team sources, the players were invited by individuals who claimed to be fans. The team then shifted to another floor in the same hotel after they found that these "fans" were on the same floor as the players, the sources said. Saeed, however, said that nobody in the team had changed their rooms, let alone the floor.
Meanwhile Younis Khan, the Pakistan captain, told Geo TV, "No bookie has approached me. If ever one does, I will catch him and hand him over to ICC because these people have destroyed the game."
However Ijaz Butt, PCB's chairman, told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Sports in Islamabad that the rooms were indeed changed. "We got some reports and we changed floors," Butt said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.