Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pakistan rocked by fresh claims

Salman Butt (right), Mohammad Asif (centre) and Mohammad Amir (left) leave their hotel on 1 September
Butt (right), (centre) and Amir are currently under investigation

A fourth Pakistan cricketer is being investigated by cricket's governing body, claims the News of the World.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir are already the subject of police and International Cricket Council (ICC) investigations over a betting scandal.

Test skipper Butt and fast bowlers Asif and Amir have been suspended and charged by the ICC.

However, it refused to confirm that a fourth player is being investigated for spot-fixing.

A spokesman said: "We are making no comment regarding the suggestion that the ICC is probing a fourth player.

"We do not comment on ongoing investigations, we will not revealing any details about the charges [faced by Butt, Asif and Amir]," added the ICC spokesman after the News of the World reported that the three men were facing a total of 23 charges.

The Metropolitan Police said it is not investigating a fourth player, while the Pakistan Cricket Board was not immediately available for comment ahead of Sunday's first Twenty20 international between England and Pakistan in Cardiff.

The BBC understands that wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal has been contacted by the ICC and asked for information, though this is not in relation to the recent fourth Test at Lord's.

During that match, Asif and Amir are alleged to have bowled three no-balls between them at pre-determined times to facilitate betting coups after "middle-man" Mazhar Majeed was reported to have accepted £150,000 from an undercover reporter from the News of the World, who published the story last Sunday.

The News of the World also claimed that batsmen Yasir Hameed spoke to the newspaper about other Pakistani cricketers' involvement in match-fixing.

However, Hameed denies speaking to the tabloid, though the News of the World paper has promised to published a video interview with the Pakistan batsman on Sunday.

Meanwhile Croydon Athletic - the football club co-owned by Majeed, has announced that manager Tim O'Shea and his Assistant Neil Smith have left with immediate effect.

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