Pakistan's top detectives arrive to question cricketers over betting-scam allegations
INVESTIGATORS from Pakistan's highest crime-fighting agency will arrive in London today to begin their own inquiry into allegations of a cricket betting scam amid growing calls for the country to be suspended to prevent further damage to the reputation of the game.
The Pakistan cricket team left London for Somerset yesterday ahead of the series of one-day matches against England due to start this weekend as the political and sporting fallout continued from the sting by a Sunday newspaper against a sports agent who claimed to be able to provide information worth large sums to gambling syndicates.
A three-strong team from Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency will work alongside Scotland Yard detectives investigating claims by Mazhar Majeed (35), a property developer and cricket agent, that he controlled seven Pakistani players and could rig the results of matches.
In return for £150,000 (€183,000), undercover rep-orters were given precise details of three no-balls which were duly delivered by bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif in last week's Lord's Test against England.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) last night warned of "prompt and decisive" action against any players found guilty of wrongdoing, but stopped short of ordering the suspension of the Pakistan cricketers named in the inquiry -- captain Salman Butt, vice-captain Kamran Akmal and the two bowlers -- for the remainder of the country's matches in England.
A small crowd of cricket fans shouted "thieves" as the coach carrying the Pakistan team left its hotel yesterday and eggs were confiscated from a number of bystanders.
Calls for sterner action were led by Malcolm Speed, the Australian head of the ICC between 2001 and 2008, who said there was a "fairly compelling case" for the entire Pakistan team to be suspended immediately from the sport.
There were concerns that corruption was "endemic" within the side, he added. (© Independent News Service)