London:It's not an easy time for a Pakistan cricket fan. At a time when the country's economy is in shambles and devastating floods have left thousands dead, the cricket team is being labelled cheats and fixers. Inspiration if any doesn't seem to be coming in from anywhere.
In another exclusive photo from British tabloid 'News of the World', fixer Mazhar Majeed is seen dining with virtually the entire Pakistani team during the tour of Australia this year. It must be noticed that Pakistan lost all the Tests and one-dayers in that series.
See Pics: Pakistan cricket in a 'fix'
The British tabloid has also uncovered a trail of text messages that they claim were sent and received on Majeed's mobile, whose records are now being investigated.
A day after Pakistan lost the second Test and Akmal dropped 5 catches Majeed received a text from a British Number which read - "Kamran Akmal has been accused of match fixing."
A month later - on March 5 - another text to Majeed read:
"Salam bro pls be careful if you are dealing with any financial matter with Kami (Kamran Akmal) I am sure you are aware he and one other player is very much into match fixing allegations."
All this uncovered just a day after this video, which had Majeed's audio on how spot-fixing works.
The Pakistan Cricket Board, meanwhile, seems keen to defend Yasir Hameed after his sting on News Of The World. Hameed was caught on tape saying that every one of Pakistan's match was fixed, but he says he was framed.
Captain Shahid Afridi lashed out at Hameed following the player's comments to the News of the World. "We have known him for a long time and we can expect anything from him. He has been doing these type of things a lot of times," Afridi said.
"At the moment the only thing we know is that there are three players implicated in spot betting. Until the investigation is completed, we won't know, but if these allegations are proved to be correct, that the players were involved in spot-fixing, then it opens a huge Pandora's box. What else could have happened? Which other players could have been involved? So we don't know really, at the moment. We hope that this is not true, but if these allegations prove to be true, then there are a lot of repercussions very damaging for Pakistan cricket," former Pakistan captain Imran Khan said. (Read: The humiliation was avoidable: Imran Khan)
Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif have been suspended after the News of the World allegedly caught Majeed organising no-balls to order during last month's Lord's Test against England.
The newspaper filmed Majeed receiving 150,000 pounds to facilitate the scam.
Reports in British media at the weekend said up to 15,000 pounds in marked bills paid in the newspaper sting had been recovered from the players' hotel rooms by investigators.
Former England captain Geoff Boycott said it was no surprise that Pakistan were repeatedly implicated in corruption scandals, as the cricket authorities had never clamped down hard enough on past cases.
The no-nonsense Yorkshireman urged the authorities to offer teenager Amir a plea bargain.
"Tell the truth about what took place and he can get off with a lighter sentence. If he won't play ball, then make an example of him," he wrote in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
"I feel for Amir, because any 18-year-old is likely to get dragged along by his seniors. But I still believe that he deserves a lengthy ban -- seven years, perhaps -- if he is shown to have bowled no-balls to order.
"As for the others, they should be treated even more harshly, because they have no excuse."
Amdist this fixing fiasco, Afridi's boys lost the 1st T20 to England by 135 runs. Not surprising given that they were being taunted all through with lines like Pakistan have won the toss and decided to BET! (With agency inputs)
(Image courtesy: News of The World)