New Delhi:During the investigation of the spot-fixing allegations, the Scotland Yard detectives spoke to Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and skipper Salman Butt and took away the three players' mobile phones, Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed confirmed on Sunday.
Despite the allegations, Saeed denied that Pakistan cricket was "institutionally corrupt".
The ghosts of match-fixing returned to haunt the Pakistan cricket as the Scotland Yard arrested an alleged fixer after sordid details about corruption in the Pakistan cricket team currently facing defeat in the Lord's Test emerged in a British tabloid. (Read Exclusive: Fixing evidences undeniable: British tabloid editor)
'The News of the World' tabloid splashed details of a sting operation it conducted on a London-based individual, Mazhar Majeed. (Who is Mazhar Majeed?)
The tabloid said it gave 150,000 pounds to him after he promised to arrange for Pakistan bowlers to bowl no-balls during the match.
Majeed, 35, was arrested on late Saturday night by the Scotland Yard.
(Also Read: Pak players were in touch with bookies during T20 WC)
The ICC too rose to the issue. They came out with a release after the sting was telecast, saying investigations are on and also clarifying that no player has been arrested.
In a statement the ICC said, "No players nor team officials have been arrested in relation to this incident."
"We would like to wait to see what happens in the investigation. Only then we can say anything. We did not warm up this morning because we were talking about allegations," Saeed said.
But the newspaper says there's a lot of dirt yet to uncovered of matches fixed in Australia. Incidentally, Pakistan's rout down under last year, led to concerns that matches were being thrown.
A sting operation video shows an alleged bookie Mazhar Majeed with tens of thousands of pounds in front of him, money used by the tabloid News of the World to infiltrate the bookie network and get access to Pakistani players. This particular sting uncovers spot-fixing i.e. fixing the outcome of specific deliveries and not the result of the match.
Former ICC President Ehsan Mani was baffled how a bookie managed to get in touch with the players despite restrictions imposed by the anti-corruption unit. "How this happened is beyond me, what was the Pakistan team management or the ICC anti-corruption unit doing?" he said. (Read: Mani shocked by Pakistan 'spot-fixing' scandal)
Back home the Pakistan cricket fraternity is stunned by the latest developments and have reacted with shock and anger to the 'spot-fixing' scandal. They said the accused players and the team management should be called back home immediately and prompt steps be taken to deal with the scandal.
However, seven Pakistani cricketers are now under investigation for match-fixing.
The Pakistan Cricket Board also confirmed that some of the players were under investigation. The two Pakistan cricketers who allegedly bowled no-balls under directions from Majeed were Mohammed Aamer and Mohammed Asif.
Both bowlers delivered three no-balls in the fourth and final Test against England on Thursday and Friday at the historic Lord's. The two bowlers delivered the no-balls at precisely the moments promised to our reporter', the tabloid said.
(Talking Pics: Pakistan cricket's past misadventures)
"Our undercover team was posing as front men for a Far East gambling cartel. In return for their suitcase of money Majeed then calmly detailed what would happen - and when - on the field of play next day, as a taster of all the lucrative information he could supply in future," it reported.
Majeed claimed a lot of players were only bothered about money. "You'll find there's only a few players who are genuine and who are actually here for the love of the game, and there's not many believe me. A lot of them are just looking for money, women and food," Majeed has been quoted as saying in the video tapes of the sting released by 'The News of the World'. (Read: Pak cricketers just want money, women and food: Bookie)
Majeed reportedly said: "I'm going to give you three no-balls to prove to you firstly that this is what's happening. They've all been organised, okay? This is 'exactly' what's going to happen, you're going to 'see' these three things happen. I'm telling you, if you play this right you're
going to make a lot of money, believe me!"
Majeed identified Pakistan captain Salman Butt as the 'ringleader of the band of cheats'. He also reportedly named wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal and boasted that he had a total of seven corrupt cricketers in his pocket, the report said.
However, Pakistan skipper Butt strongly rejected the allegations and said all his players gave their 100 per cent performance in the series against England. (Read: Why should I step down: Butt)
"We are sad and dressing room mood is sombre. Every Pakistani player has given their 100% in the series," Butt said. He, however, ruled out stepping down.
Majeed is identified as a property tycoon with a house in Surrey worth 1.8 million pounds.
The tabloid reporter's meetings with Majeed were held in the Bombay Brasserie Indian restaurant here, and Majeed reportedly went on to allege an Indian connection as well. During the sting operation, Majeed called an Indian bookie and asked how much he would pay for definite result. He was offered $1 million.
He is quoted as saying: "I deal with an Indian party. They pay me for the information."
Majeed also said there were no major activities when Indian market is not open.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari expressed his disappointment at the allegations and promised that any players found guilty would be severely punished.
If wrongdoing was proven, "all the players involved must forget to play for Pakistan in future," the President's spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.
Incidentally, the Pakistan team management had warned the cricketers not meet Mazhar Majeed and his brother in their hotel rooms. Why? But it's not just a Pakistan issue, it's shaken the whole cricketing world.