Pakistan plays on amid betting scandal

International Cricket Council
president Sharad Pawar says Pakistan’s tour of England will continue despite
spot-fixing claims against some players.

“Police have not yet completed
their investigation,” said Pawar.

“It is the desire of the ICC
and the cricket boards of England and Pakistan that the game should continue.”

There is no indication the four
players questioned – Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Kamran Akmal
– are facing suspension at this stage.

Test Captain Butt, fast bowlers
Amir and Asif and wicketkeeper Akmal were questioned by police at the team’s
hotel in London following a report that some Pakistan players had been bribed
to fix incidents during the fourth Test against England at Lord’s.

The allegations centred on three
no-balls from Amir and Asif which the News of the World newspaper said had been
bowled on purpose at pre-determined times to facilitate betting coups after a
“middle man” accepted $231,000 in cash from an undercover reporter.

The man identified as the alleged
go-between, cricket agent Mazhar Majeed, 35, has been released on police bail
after being arrested over the weekend on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud
bookmakers.

Meanwhile, ICC chief executive
Haroon Lorgat revealed investigators from its anti-corruption and security unit
were already in the UK conducting enquiries of their own as well as
“assisting London’s Metropolitan Police with their criminal
investigation.”

He added: “If any players are
found to be guilty, the ICC will ensure that the appropriate punishment is
handed out. We will not tolerate corruption in this great game.”

The Pakistan team coach has arrived
in Taunton ahead of a match against Somerset on Thursday.

Pakistan is then due to continue
their tour with two Twenty20 internationals and five one-day internationals
against England in September.

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