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Pakistani cricket: It's controversial

Last updated on: September 24, 2010 08:56 IST

Inzamam was cleared of ball tampering

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The Pakistan cricket team has been hit by a series of setbacks and controversies over the past five years.

The team limped home from England on Thursday unlamented, unloved and unwanted by a country which had been prepared to grant them sanctuary while security threats make it impossible for them to play at home.

A profound sense of betrayal poisoned relations between England and Pakistan since three players, including Test captain Salman Butt, were suspended by the International Cricket Council after a corruption investigation into the fourth Test at Lord's.

Butt and his two opening bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were accused by a British newspaper of accepting money to manipulate incidents within the match.

Controversies have become synonymous with Pakistan's cricket. Earlier in the year, Shahid Afridi was pictured biting the ball. That it didn't inflate into a bigger issue is another matter.

Here is a timeline of controversies surrounding the team.

August 2006: England are awarded the fourth and final Test of their home series against Pakistan at the Oval after the tourists forfeit the match following a ball-tampering row.

Pakistan refused to return to the field for the final session of the fourth day after umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove imposed a five-run penalty against them for altering the state of the ball.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq is cleared of ball tampering by the ICC but is banned for four one-day internationals for bringing the game into disrepute.


Image: Inzamam-ul Haq
Photographs: Reuters
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Shoaib, Asif tested positive for nandrolone

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Another major controversy happened during the Champions Trophy.

October 2006: On the eve of their opening match, Pakistan send home fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif from the Champions Trophy in India after the pair test positive for the banned steroid nandrolone.

Shoaib is handed a two-year ban by a PCB tribunal, which also suspends Asif for 12 months.

The bans were subsequently scrapped after both players appealed the punishment.


Image: Shoaib Akhtar

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Woolmer died during the World Cup

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One of the most controversial moments came in the last World Cup.

March 2007: Pakistan crash out in the first round of the World Cup in West Indies following a stunning defeat by debutants Ireland.

Less than 24 hours later Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer dies aged 58 after being found unconscious in his hotel room.

Jamaican police launch murder inquiry into Woolmer's death, saying the Englishman was strangled amid growing speculation that he was the victim of a "betting mafia".

However, later in the year a jury in Jamaica recorded an open verdict on Woolmer's death after deciding there was insufficient evidence of either a criminal act or natural causes.


Image: Bob Woolmer

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Sri Lanka attacked, and Pakistan pays the price

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The team was in a big mess early last year.

March 2009: Gunmen attack a bus carrying Sri Lanka's cricket team outside a Lahore stadium in Pakistan, killing seven people, including six policemen and a driver.

Six of the team and a British coach are wounded.

April 2009: Pakistan lose the right to host any of the 2011 50-over World Cup games scheduled for the Indian sub-continent after the ICC board decides to shift the matches out of the country because of security concerns following the Lahore attack.


Image: Terrorists attack the bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team

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Spot-fixing raises its hood

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This one has grabbed the headlines for the last couple of months.

August 2010: Pakistan cricket is hit by allegations of spot-fixing after a newspaper report revealed players had been bribed to bowl pre-determined no-balls in the fourth Test against England.

British police questioned Test captain Salman Butt and pace bowlers Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Wahab Riaz as part of the investigation.

Butt, Amir and Asif were suspended from all cricket by ICC.


Image: Salman Butt

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ECB threatens legal action following Butt's remarks

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The incident took an ugly turn with both parties warning each other of dire consequences.

September 2010: The ICC says it is investigating Pakistan's role in the third one-dayer against England for suspicious "scoring patterns".

The news sparks angry reaction from PCB chief Ijaz Butt as Pakistan had won the match.

A war of words breaks out after Butt told a television channel: "There is loud and clear talk in bookies' circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose (the third one-day) match."

The England and Wales Cricket Board reacts angrily and threatens legal action.


Image: Ijaz Butt

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