The match-fixing scandal that has rocked Pakistan cricket got murkier on Monday with reports of more games being rigged as a rattled ICC promised "appropriate" action against players found guilty after investigations.
The sting operation carried out by British tabloid 'The News of the World', which implicated seven Pakistani players including captain Salman Butt, has opened a Pandora's box with fresh reports suggesting that the opening Test between England and Pakistan and the January Sydney Test between Pakistan and Australia could have been fixed.
The ICC top brass had a teleconference to discuss the issue after which it was made clear that Pakistan's T20 and ODI series against England will continue as scheduled. "It is the desire of the ICC, England and Pakistan that the game is continued," ICC President Sharad Pawar said after talking over phone with top ICC officials, PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt and ECB chairman Giles Clarke. Pakistan and England square off in two Twenty20 Internationals (5th and 7th September) before playing five ODIs from 10th-22nd September. Pawar said besides the London police, Anti-Corruption Unit of the ICC is also preparing a report.
The world body will take action after studying both the investigations and a report from the PCB. "I had a detailed discussion with Giles Clarke, Ejaz Butt, ICC vice-president Alan Issac, CEO Haroon Lorgat, anti-corruption wing in-charge Ravi Sawani and a few officials of ICC. We discussed in depth the Pakistani players' issue. One thing is that the British Police have not completed their investigation. Neither any player has been interrogated," he said. "Until and unless the British authorities complete investigation, which we hope will be done in two-three days, and establish there is prima facie case it is difficult for the PCB to take appropriate action," he said.
"ICC is waiting for the British police to complete investigation. ACSU is also looking into the details. It is also preparing a report in 2-3 days. The report by British Police and ACSU will give us a proper picture. This information we hope will lead us to take appropriate action if required," he added.
The furore follows allegations that a bookie, Mazhar Majeed, arrested and later released on bail, bribed Pakistani pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir for 'spot-fixing' to bowl no balls during the Lord's Test against England, which the visitors lost by an innings and 225 runs. While match-fixing involves rigging the outcome of a game, 'spot-fixing' means manipulating events within a match.
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