Pakistan cricket plunged into another match-fixing controversy with the former PCB chief Tauqir Zia claiming that six national team players were suspected by the ICC [ Images ] of rigging the Sydney [ Images ] Test early this year.
Lt General (retd) Zia said the International Cricket Council [ Images ] had informed the PCB in writing after the tour of Australia [ Images ] that it suspected six players of Pakistan team of rigging Sydney Test and they needed to be kept under a close watch.
"I know the ICC had told the PCB this year to monitor these players because they had got hold of some SMS messages these players exchanged with suspected bookmakers," Zia told Geo News channel late on Sunday night.
"ICC approached the PCB after the Australian tour and warned them to keep a watch on these players as they went for the Twenty20 [ Images ] World Cup and Asia Cup," he said.
He said he did not know what the Pakistan Cricket Board management did after the ICC message but said he was ready to discuss anything if approached by the ICC or PCB. Zia also made another startling claim that he was approached by suspected bookmakers in 2002 to select a 'tainted' player in the national team.
"Some people who I suspect were bookmakers called me up and pressurised me to select a particular player in the team but I rejected them," Zia said.
Zia declined to name the player but other sources indicated that it might have been former Pakistan captain Salim Malik who was banned for life in 2000 by the board for his alleged involvement in match-fixing.
The ban on Malik was lifted by the court in 2008. Asked what he had done when he was approached by suspected bookie to select the 'tainted' player, Zia said he had informed the team management and also the government.
"But we did not make a big deal out of it since that player had already been hauled up earlier," he said, making it clear that he was talking about an incident that happened in 2002 and not recently.
In August, three Pakistanis -- Salman Butt [ Images ], Mohammad Asif [ Images ] and Mohammad Aamir -- were accused of spot-fixing by taking money from illegal bookies to bowl no balls during a Test match against England [ Images ] at Lord's. They were later provisionally suspended by the ICC.