England cricketer in 'safe house' after betting mafia's threat

The News of the World reported that Afzaal's family reported the bizarre raid to a Nottingham police station, where they were told there was no record of any such investigation.

The cricketers' brother Kamran is said to have received an anonymous blackmail call shortly afterwards, the tabloid said.

The anonymous caller warned Kamran that he had just 24 hours to find 100,000 pounds or his family would be reported to cricket's anti-corruption squad. He told the Nottinghamshire police about the call in July.

There is absolutely no suggestion Afzaal or his family are involved in match fixing or any wrongdoing, the report said.

Afzaal along with his family was forced to flee their three-storey townhouse on the outskirts of Nottingham after the threat.

Scotland Yard's Serious and Organised Crime Command were tipped off by the Customs officers who had learned of the demand by the betting syndicate.

It is believed the gang involved may have links to an illegal gambling ring run by an Indian fixer based in the Middle East, the report said.

Pakistan-born Afzaal played for England in three Ashes Tests against Australia in 2001 but was released by his county club Surrey Tuesday.

Nicknamed "Trevor" by team mates, the left-handed batsman has not featured in a first-class game since Surrey's defeat to Middlesex in July.

On Saturday night, a neighbour at the family home said: "They have gone. They have been under police protective custody for a couple of months and have moved out."
Afzaal dated Bollywood actress Amrita Arora and was among the popular cricketers in India.

According the tabloid report, the English Cricket Board and Surrey CCC confirmed there was no suggestion Afzaal had ever been involved in any form of match fixing.

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