Pakistan reject latest claims

2010-09-18 18:56

London - Fresh allegations of spot-fixing by Pakistan players following Friday's third one-day international against England appear to be false, Pakistan Cricket Board legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi said on Saturday.

"At this stage we don't believe these latest allegations that our players did any fixing in the third one-day match against England," Rizvi said in Karachi.

"We feel at this stage these allegations appear unfounded."

Earlier, International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the world governing body was investigating the match after receiving information from a British newspaper alleging a suspicious scoring pattern in Pakistan's innings.

"A source informed The Sun newspaper that a certain scoring pattern would emerge during certain stages of the match and, broadly speaking, that information appeared to be correct," Lorgat said in a statement.

"We therefore feel it is incumbent upon us to launch a full inquiry into this particular game although it is worth pointing out at this stage that we are not stating as fact that anything untoward has occurred."

Several Pakistani officials criticised the ICC for making its investigation public before anything was proved and said there was a conspiracy to put pressure on the team.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said it would meet on Saturday to discuss the investigation. Pakistan won the third game in the five-match series by 23 runs at the Oval.

Pakistan test captain Salman Butt and opening bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have returned home after they were provisionally suspended by the ICC following newspaper reports of premeditated no-balls in the fourth test against England at Lord's last month. The trio have said they are innocent.

British police, who are also investigating the spot-fixing allegations, questioned a fourth player, Wahab Riaz, last week.

Rizvi said the latest allegations did not weaken the case of the three suspended players.

"After these investigations are over we are definitely considering filing damages against newspapers who have made these allegations," Rizvi said.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi told the Geo Super channel that he was surprised by the reports.

"I just get this feeling there is an attempt to bring the team under pressure. If anyone has any evidence that there was anything wrong in the match it should be presented first before allegations are made. It adds to the pressure on the players," Afridi said.

Iqbal Mohammad, the chairman of the National Assembly standing committee on sports, asked why the ICC had not reacted once it had prior information that there would be spot-fixing.

"I get this feeling now there is a definite conspiracy to damage and isolate Pakistan cricket," he said.

"Without anything being proven first I don't understand what prompted the ICC to issue a press release."

Pakistan Sports Minister Aijaz Jakhrani said the government would not take action unless there was clear evidence against a player.

"The ICC has the power and an anti-corruption unit and they should go ahead and use that," Jakhrani told the Indian news channel CNN-IBN. "If they get any proof then we will definitely look into it."