New twist in Pakistan scandal

Police investigating alleged
corruption involving Pakistani cricketers believe that video evidence crucial
to the case is authentic.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner Wajid
Shamsul Hasan claims News of the World video allegedly exposing the scandal may
have been made after the incident.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and
Mohammad Amir are currently being investigated by the police for alleged
spot-fixing.

But police and cricket’s governing
body are treating the evidence as genuine.

In response to Hasan’s latest
comments, the News of the World said it “refuses to respond to such ludicrous
allegations”.

Asif and Amir are alleged to have
bowled three no-balls on purpose at pre-determined times to facilitate betting
coups after a “middle-man” accepted $230,000 in cash from an undercover
reporter from the News of the World.

The newspaper published the claims
last Sunday; just days after the incidents were alleged to have taken place on
the Thursday and Friday of the fourth Test at Lord’s.

The cricketers Hasan referred to will now miss
the rest of their country’s tour of England.

Hassan insists the players are are
“innocent”.

“The players have voluntarily
offered not to be included [in the tour],” he said. “They want to
clear their names first.”

Later Hasan added the News of the
World videotape of its meeting with the “middle-man” – cricket agent
Mazhar Majeed – could be inconclusive.

“The media are jumping to
conclusions, because no-balls are not taped like that,” he said.

“We have not seen videos –
what the time [was when they were taken], what the date [was]… whether they
were taken before or after the match.”

“Do you have answers to the
questions?”

Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed
was keen to stress that the players in question had been left out and “not
suspended” on Thursday, adding that they were all “extremely disturbed”
by what has happened since the allegations were made.

“They maintain that on account
of the mental torture which has deeply affected them, they are not in the right
frame of mind to play the remaining matches,” he said.

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