England cricketer in hiding after raid

Updated: Sep 12, 2010, 11:46 AM IST

London: England Test cricketer Usman Afzaal is hiding in a "safe house" after a betting gang posing as cops ransacked his family house.

According to a British tabloid, 33-year-old Afzaal is under police protection after being targeted by a shady betting syndicate.

"Test match ace Usman Afzaal, 33, is being guarded at a "safe house" after a gang posing as cops ransacked his family home with a fake warrant," the report said.

Afzaal`s family reported the unusual incident to a Nottingham police station next morning but they were informed that no such record of investigation existed.

Afzaal`s brother Kamran had also received an anonymous blackmail call, asking for a sum of 100,000 pounds within 24 hours, failing which his family would be reported to cricket`s anti-corruption squad, the report said.

The family had to leave their three-storey townhouse on the outskirts of Nottingham after the bizarre episode.

"They have gone. They have been under police protective custody for a couple of months and have moved out," a neighbour at the family home, was quoted as saying by the tabloid last night.

Scotland Yard`s Serious and Organised Crime Command were tipped off by Customs officers who had learned of the menacing demand.

"It is believed the gang involved may have links to an illegal gambling ring run by an Indian fixer based in the Middle-East," the report said.

Pakistan-born England cricketer Afzaal featured in three Ashes Tests against Australia in 2001.

PTI

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