Pakistan officials worried over match fixing

The leaking of video showing Pak team management raising suspicions about match fixing has resulted in PCB officials, coaches and players being summoned.

updated: May 20, 2010 09:31 IST
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The leaking of video showing Pakistan team management raising suspicions about match fixing has resulted in Pakistan Cricket Board officials, coaches and players being summoned to appear in front of a parliamentary committee.

The match fixing suspicions and parliamentary probe are the latest fallout from Pakistan's woeful tour of Australia early this year when Pakistan lost three Test matches, five One-Day Internationals and a Twenty20 International.

A PCB committee of inquiry had already given heavy fines and suspensions to several players for ill discipline and poor performance. Except for Mohammad Yousuf the other six - Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan and Rana Naved - have filed appeals with a PCB-appointed arbitrator Irfan Qadir.

In the leaked video, coaches raised doubts about wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, who dropped four catches and missed an easy run out during the second Test at Sydney.

Coach Intikhab Alam said he was "flabbergasted" when Kamran missed the run out of Shane Watson and later he also heard stories of match fixing.

Aqib Javed, who was part of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup winning squad, had strong reservations over the wicketkeeper's poor performance.

"When I saw it I couldn't believe it. How he could miss such a big run out?" he told the the PCB's committee of inquiry.

"I can't say 100 per cent that there is match-fixing, but I have my strong suspicions," he said.

"I know all about it because I was a victim of it. In 1998, I presented evidence against players but the judge who was hearing the inquiry ended the matter."

Pakistan cricket had been plagued with match fixing since 1999 when an inquiry headed by Justice Mohammad Qayyum handed life bans on former Test captain Salim Malik and fast bowler Ataur Rehman and also fined several players.

Last year a parliamentarian accused Pakistan of match fixing during the Champions Trophy in South Africa which resulted in Younis stepping down from the captaincy.

"We will even propose a committee of retired judges to investigate how does the PCB work," chairman of lower house standing committe on sports Iqbal Mohammad Ali said on Thursday.

The committee has summoned PCB chief Ijaz Butt, chief operating officer Wasim Bari (also head of the inquiry committee), Younis, manager Yawar Saeed and the then chief selector Iqbal Qasim for a May 25 meeting.

The parliamentarian also had strong reservations on the inquiry committee which included all PCB officials.

"It was not a neutral committee and that's the main reason that now we will propose a committee of retired judges," Ali said.

"After the leakage of this video, I am very confident that president will also take a serious notice and streamline the affairs of PCB."

Ali wondered why Kamran was not sent home if coaches doubted his integrity.

"What were they (coaches) doing when they had doubts?" Ali questioned.

"They should have then taken a strong action and sent him back home as there was one more Test after Sydney, five ODIs and a Twenty20."

Meanwhile, Australia Test vice-captain Michael Clarke said he had no suspicions about the Sydney Test.

"Looking back it was was a wonderful Test match and a huge win for us, but I certainly had no suspicions," Clarke was quoted to say by Australian Associated Press.

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh said he would be "devastated" if the allegations were true.

"To have someone come out and say it wasn't quite right, that would be very damaging to the game and also to Pakistan," Waugh said.

"There's always a lot of rumours, people have got to bring evidence to the table because otherwise it does damage the game of cricket."

Waugh said it was very hard to prove match fixing - especially in Test matches which go for six hours a day.

"There's a lot of mistakes made because they are human, a lot of great things happen. How you distinguish between those I don't know, that's always going to be the hard part.

"Unless you've got hard evidence you are better off keeping your mouth closed because sport is like that, if it's too predictable no-one would watch it."