30 Aug 2010

Pakistan face severe scrutiny for alleged match fixing

6:27 am on 30 August 2010

The Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt has refused to answer allegations that his team deliberately lost the dramatic SCG Test against Australia in January.

Suspicion has long surrounded the Sydney match in which Australia pulled off a miraculous escape against a seemingly imploding Pakistan.

Before he left his post as the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption boss in May, Lord Condon indicated he had grave concerns about the Sydney Test but was unable to pin down the players' motivation for underperforming.

Those fears have resurfaced following newspaper allegations that Pakistan had been involved in spot fixing during the Lord's Test against England.

The man at the centre of the News of the World's sting says the Sydney result was rigged.

Player agent Mazhar Majeed claims the Pakistan players had waited until odds against their defeat were prohibitive before ensuring the home side won in Sydney.

Butt, who served under then captain Mohammad Yousuf during the Sydney Test, attended the post-match press conference on Sunday following his side's heavy defeat to England but refused to answer questions about the Sydney test.

Majeed says that Butt, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Kamran Akmal were all on his books in the damaging reports.

The newspaper says it secretly filmed its undercover reporters, posing as front men for a Far East gambling cartel, in discussion with Majeed, who appears to accept $NZ 327,000 in order to make sure no-balls are bowled at certain times during the match.

Majeed was arrested by British police over the weekend for conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.