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'No Grand Conspiracy'


Haydn Gill
St. John's An experienced journalist who gave evidence at the judicial commission of inquiry into match-fixing and bribery in Pakistani cricket does not feel any Pakistan team has ever contrived to fix the outcome of a match.
Imtiaz Sipra, sports editor of the Lahore-based News newspaper, felt it was difficult for any individual to fix a match.
A person may not play well on a particular day, maybe because of his frame of mind, he said yesterday. But you cannot fix a match; you cannot contrive a result. It's impossible.
However, he was not surprised by Mr. Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum's recommendations of life bans for two players and fines for six others.
I was specially asked about two tours I covered, Imtiaz told Weekendsport on yesterday's opening day of the third Test between West Indies and Pakistan at the Antigua Recreation Ground.
I provided certain documentary evidence to the judge that in those matches the boys were not involved at all. The results were against the run of play.
The tours in question were the 1978-79 series against India and the 1994-95 series against New Zealand in which young fast bowler Ata-ur- Rehman claimed he had been asked to bowl badly.
The judge's report, which was released on Wednesday, recommended life bans for the 25-year-old bowler Ata-ur-Rehman and former captain Salim Malik, while six others, including four on this trip to the Caribbean, were slapped with fines.
Whatever the judge recommended was always on the cards, Imtiaz said.
Imtiaz, who has covered more than 100 Tests in almost every international cricket country since the late 1970s, said the whole scenario would in some way tarnish the reputation of the game in Pakistan.
It's a bad image on the people. But one person or two persons involved in certain things should not affect the reputation of the country as a whole, he said.