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Pakistan stunned at latest fixing claims

August 29, 2010 17:23 IST

Pakistan's cricket community reacted with shock to fresh allegations that some players took bribes for spot fixing in the current series against England.

The allegations broke out after the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed that a man was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.

"It has come as an absolute shock to me. I don't know how this could happen. What was the Pakistan team management doing?" former ICC President, Ehsan Mani, told Geo Super channel.

"I also blame the ICC anti-corruption unit, when a newspaper could uncover all this what was the unit doing, it is a shame for cricket."

Pakistan's former Test captain Aamir Sohail called on Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) president Asif Zardari to recall the management and players against whom allegations had been made.

"It is a disgrace for Pakistan cricket," Sohail said. "I don't think this board or management can do anything now when all this has happened under their nose.

"Now it is time for the President to act and show the world we are serious about tackling corruption in sports.

"Damage control steps need to be taken immediately and I don't think these players who have been accused should remain with the team neither the officials under whose nose all this took place," he added.

Pakistan lost the fourth Test by an innings and 225 runs on Sunday, although the Test has become a sideshow to events off the field.

In 2000 the Pakistani Board banned former captain, Salim Malik, for life and fined five other players for their involvement in match-fixing.

After the tour to Australia earlier this year, there were allegations some players had underperformed deliberately, leading to an internal inquiry.

Seven players were disciplined following the probe for misconduct and indiscipline.

Five of the players were pardoned in June and returned to play for Pakistan.

Senator Haroon Akhtar, a member of the Senate standing committee on sports, said that the board was to blame for the latest scandal.

"The board had promised us ... they they would not spare players suspected of shady dealings but the PCB Chairman went back on his word," he said.

"This fresh controversy is a result of the board's failure to take action against corrupt players."

He called on the government to recall the players and try them under Pakistani law to uncover the truth.

Another Senator, Tariq Azeem, said President Zardari needed to sack the current set-up in the PCB immediately and call back the players accused of fixing.

"Enough is enough Pakistan cricket has already been damaged a lot. This is the final straw the President must act now," Azeem said.

Former Test batsman Basit Ali said he blamed the authorities for middlemen and bookmakers continuing to soil cricket.

"Rashid Latif (former Pakistan captain) had in 2003 in a letter warned the ICC to beware of this new trend of spot fixing in international cricket. No one took it seriously and this is the result," Ali said.

Former Test player Iqbal Qasim said he was shocked to hear about the 'spot-fixing' allegations.

"I woke up early morning for Sehri to keep fast and believe me what I saw on television left me numb. I just pray all this turns out to be untrue because it is hard to believe that a 18-year old player (Mohammad Aamer) could be involved in spot-fixing," Qasim said.

Former Pakistan pacer Sarfraz Nawaz said he had been saying all along there was something fishy going on in the team.

"There is so much indiscipline in this team because of the lenient attitude of the board. This was bound to happen. I say try the players found guilty of corruption and also those officials who failed to deliver for the country," he stated.

Noted jurist, Farkhruddin G Ibrahim, who represented former captain Saleem Malik and other players in the famous inquiry into match fixing allegations held by Justice (retd) Malik Qayyum in 1998 and 1999, had words of caution, saying that so far there were only allegations against the players.

"Nothing has been proven as yet but the onus is now on the ICC and PCB to show the world the truth. If this situation continues this way people will never trust cricketers or administrators," he said.

The cricket fans on the street reacted with anger, saying that the accused players should be immediately called back for bringing shame to Pakistan cricket.

"Yes they should call back these players and put them on trial. Find out the truth but don't allow them to remain there now. They have brought shame for us in this holy month of Ramazan," said Saleem Ahmed, a hawker in one of Karachi's busiest shopping areas, Saddar.

"How can we now believe that these players are honest with their country and themselves. It is shameful," Khurrum, a shopkeeper selling bangles for the festival of Eid, said.

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