PCB asked to act tough, also to support tainted players

By Omar Khalid, IANS,

Karachi : One of Pakistan’s former cricketing greats has asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for some strict action, while some others have urged it to rally behind the country’s beleagured players who are embroiled in match-fixing scandals.

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The appeal to the PCB to force corrections and exhortations to support the cricketers said to be victims of conspiracy to tarnish them, came even as the International Cricket Council (ICC) launched fresh investigations into new allegations of the match-fixing in Friday’s Pakistan-England ODI at The Oval.

Former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas said such scandals were ruining Pakistan cricket, and added that the PCB will have to take decisive action.

Former Test leg-spinner Abdul Qadir suspected that the latest scandal was part of a conspiracy hatched against Pakistan cricket, and former off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq asked the PCB to rally behind Pakistan’s cricketers because they are “being targeted by conspirators”.

Pakistan won the Oval ODI by 23 runs, but the ICC admitted the scoring patterns in the match were suspicious.

“Following information received by the ICC from a British newspaper and its source, the ICC now believes a full investigation is warranted,” said an ICC statement.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: “A source informed The Sun newspaper that a certain scoring pattern would emerge during certain stages of the match and, broadly speaking, that information appeared to be correct.”

“We, therefore, feel it is incumbent upon us to launch a full enquiry into this particular game although it is worth pointing out at this stage that we are not stating as fact that anything untoward has occurred. Only in the fullness of the investigation can that be established,” Lorgat said.

“We thank The Sun newspaper for its information and cooperation in this regard and we will work with its staff and sources to ensure the full truth surrounding this match is ascertained. The ICC maintains a zero-tolerance approach to corruption in cricket and, as a matter of course, follows up on all credible information that is received, whatever the source,” he said.

“Any player or official found guilty of an offence will face the full rigour of our robust Anti-Corruption Code so that we can ensure the integrity of the sport is maintained,” he added.

The latest match-fixing allegations come after three Pakistani cricketers, Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif, were provisionally suspended by the ICC on charges of spot-fixing in the fourth Test at Lord’s in England.