Investigation gains momentum

Investigation gains momentum

Cricket: Fixing scandal: Pak Federal agents, PCB chief Butt take control of situation from team management

Investigation gains momentum

Unwanted attention: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis is trailed by the media as he walks out of his hotel on Tuesday. AP

This, however, is contrary to what Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in Karachi on Tuesday that the FIA team will be sent only after receiving a report of British authorities probing the allegations.

According to a report in the The Times, federal agents, working with PCB chief Ijaz Butt and High Commissioner for Pakistan to London Wajid Shamsul Hasan, had taken control of the situation from the team management.

The anti-corruption unit of the International Cricket Council under former Northern Ireland police chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan, was already investigating members of the Pakistan team before the scandal broke.

The report said forensic accountants at the Metropolitan Police are examining the financial records of Mazhar Majeed, the agent caught receiving 150,000 pounds for information about three no-balls in the Lord’s Test last week, as well as documents belonging to the players to establish a money trail between the men.

The bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal were questioned by police at the weekend along with captain Salman Butt and several more players could be interviewed as the inquiry spreads to Pakistan and the Far East.

The Crown Prosecution Service will be consulted at an early stage and this will be crucial in deciding if any players are witnesses or suspects, which affects how they would be questioned in the next few weeks.

The ICC’s anti-corruption unit has already opened its own inquiry into the spot-fixing allegations, the report said. It is looking at 82 international matches that could have been tainted by Majeed’s involvement.

These include a Test in Tasmania in January when Aamer dropped a simple catch from a hook shot by Ricky Pointing.

The Football Association has been asked to launch an urgent inquiry as Majeed owns Croydon Athletic Football Club.

According to the report, some of the unusual incidents in more than 80 international matches are being investigated.

Another match under probe is Pakistan losing in the final ball against Australia in the 2009 Champions Trophy, having bowled 12 wides in the Australia innings.

Earlier, Misbah-ul-Haq was out “hit wicket” in very unusual fashion: he stepped back to leave a ball that was called wide and trod on his stumps.

Pakistan lost a one-day match in Sri Lanka in Lahore by a record 234 runs in 2009.
Tillakaratne Dilshan was dropped on one by Butt, another player under investigation, and went on to make 137, with many other pieces of careless fielding. Butt was then out first ball as Pakistan were dismissed for 75.

The team bowled 20 wides and nine no-balls in one innings against India in Dhaka in 2008. They also dropped Gautam Gambhir twice in the first nine overs.

In the Lord’s Test against Australia last month, Umar Gul bowled nine no-balls in Australia’s first innings, one of which was over the crease by a long way. He bowled a further three no-balls in the second innings out of a team total of nine.

More questions
* The third Test between Australia and Pakistan held at Hobart from January 14-18: Md Aamer dropped an easy catch of Ricky Ponting. 

* Lord’s Test against Australia, August 2010: Umar Gul bowled 12 no-balls spread over two innings.

* Champions Trophy final, Australia vs Pakistan, 2009: Pakistan lost in the final ball after having bowled 12 wides in Australia’s innings.

* Lahore ODI against Sri Lanka, 2009: Pak lost by 234 runs. Salman Butt dropped Tillakaratne Dilshan on one and the Lankan went on to make 137. Butt was out first ball as Pakistan were dismissed for 75.

* Dhaka ODI agaisnt India, 2008: Pakistan bowled 20 wides and nine no-balls. They also dropped Gautam Gambhir twice in the first nine overs

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