Sunday 17 December 2017

Cricket: ICC top brass wants Pakistan 'fixing four' to be axed

Nick Hoult

THE International Cricket Council (ICC) has demanded the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) remove the four players at the centre of allegations of fixing from their squad for the one-day series against England.

While there has been no formal request, the PCB has been told by the chairman of the ICC, Sharad Pawar, that the credibility of the one-day series will be compromised if Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir play against England.

The PCB has so far refused requests to take action against the four based simply on an incomplete police investigation and a tabloid newspaper sting. But senior sources have indicated the PCB will act once a report by cricket's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) is completed over the next 48 hours, which will give the game's authorities the leverage to act before Pakistan play a Twenty20 match against Somerset on Thursday.

It is believed the players have taken legal advice and the ICC is preparing a watertight case to avoid any future litigation.

The PCB's hand may also be forced by strife within the Pakistan team. Sources close to Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan one-day captain, yesterday suggested he did not want players tainted by allegations of corruption in the team and the reason he resigned from leading the Test side this summer was partly due to the culture of corruption in the squad.

It is understood members of the Pakistan squad named by one newspaper and agent Mazhar Majeed, released on police bail yesterday, had been under investigation by the ACU for months and details of its findings will be included in the report ordered by the ICC.

Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and officials from the ICC and PCB held several conference calls yesterday in an effort to thrash out a solution. Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the PCB, is believed to have indicated a willingness to act and is preparing a report for the Pakistan president, Asif Ali Zardari, who is likely to make the final decision on the players' fate.

He yesterday sent officers from the Pakistan Federal Investigation Agency to Britain to examine the allegations of spot-fixing.

Javed Miandad, the Pakistani batting legend and former Test captain, yesterday demanded the players be suspended and the coaching staff sacked. "The board has to recall the players accused of spot-fixing and the present management from England," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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