Butt claims innocence; Pak minister threatens life ban

Butt claims innocence; Pak minister threatens life ban

Cricket : Spot-fixing charges: Pak skipper refuses to quit; series will continue, says team manager

Butt claims innocence; Pak minister threatens life ban

Butt is among the seven Pakistani cricketers whose names have come up in a tabloid sting which led to the arrest of a bookie, Mazhar Majeed, on Saturday night.

Asked whether he would consider quitting the job, which was given to him only last month, Butt merely said, “why?”

“These are just allegations, anyone can say anything about anyone, that doesn’t make them true,” he fumed at a press conference after the fourth Test.

Butt insisted that his team gave its 100 per cent in the series but couldn’t get the results.
“Definitely we have given our best, it’s just that the conditions have been difficult for the batsmen,” said Butt.“Every person has given 100 per cent, but not every time can you achieve what you want,” he added.

Team manager Yawar Saeed, on the other hand, was left to deal with queries on whether the two Twenty20 Internationals and the five-match one-day series against England starting September 5 is still on given the circumstances. “As far as I’m concerned the one-day series is on,” he responded.

Saeed said the dressing room mood has been affected by the allegations, especially of young pacer Mohammad Aamer, who was ironically named man of the series along with England batsman Jonathan Trott.

“Aamer is a young bowler who has done very well in his career. He is disappointed to have been involved in these allegations,” he added. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports stated that Pakistani players’ passports have been confiscated by the police.

Butt, Asif and Aamer have also had their mobile phones confiscated.

Minister’s stand
Pakistan Sports Minister Ijaz Hussain Jakhrani has promised life bans for any cricketers found guilty of match-fixing.

"We are waiting for a detailed report from the Pakistan Cricket Board and if any players are found guilty of being involved in fixing they will be banned for life," Jakhrani told Reuters.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has called for a detailed report from the cricket board over the allegations. Zardari's spokesperson, Farhatullah Babar, said the president wanted to be kept informed of developments and the status of any inquiry that may be ordered or held in London.  

"The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (Ijaz Butt) has been directed to immediately submit a preliminary report about the incident," said Babar.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the fresh allegations against its cricketers had made the countrymen “bow their heads in shame”.

“I am deeply pained (by the reports),” he told media persons, after yet another fixing scandal rocked the Pakistani cricket team in England. “Our heads have been bowed in shame,” he said.

The Prime Minister said he was asking the Ministry of Sports to conduct an inquiry into the allegations.

Meanwhile, former ICC President Ehsan Mani said he was baffled how a bookie managed to get in touch with the players despite restrictions imposed by the anti-corruption unit.
“This latest scandal has come as a total shock to me. It is so bad for the image of cricket which we are trying to globalise,” Mani said. “How this happened is beyond me, what was the Pakistan team management or the ICC anti-corruption unit doing?” he added.

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