I was tricked, blackmailed: Yasir Hameed
Karachi: Disowning the startling match-fixing accusations he has made against his Pakistan teammates, opener Yasir Hameed has claimed that he was tricked into giving the statements and later blackmailed to stand by them.
Hameed, in a video released by British tabloid `the News of the World`, is shown accusing his teammates of fixing almost "every match" Pakistan has played.
But the batsman denied giving any such interview to the tabloid and said the undercover reporter who spoke to him posing as a sponsorship agent sent him intimidating text messages to stick to the comments shown in the video released yesterday.
Hameed was summoned to the Pakistan High Commission in England for a meeting with High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan in London yesterday.
After the meeting, the Pakistan Cricket Board`s legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi released a statement on behalf of Hameed.
In the statement, Hameed said that he was offered money and even blackmailed to stand by the remarks attributed to him in the video which he claims was shot without his knowledge.
"I would like to respond to comments attributed to me by the News of the World today. I wish to stress I have never been approached by the NOTW and neither did I approach anyone connected with the News of the World to disclose any allegations concerning the Pakistan cricket team or any other players," Hameed said in his statement.
Hameed claimed that he was having dinner with a friend at the Holiday Inn Nottingham on the evening of Monday August 30 and was approached by a man who introduced himself as Abid Khan and offered to arrange a sponsorship deal for him (Yasir) with ETIHAD Airways.
"I have now seen a photograph of the so called Abid Khan and have discovered that he is Mazhar Mahmood (NOTW`s undercover reporter).”
"Naturally I was interested in what he had to say and we began a conversation. He offered me at least 50,000 pounds for the deal, which was for 6"x3" ETIHAD sticker at the back of the cricket bat plus TV and billboard advertisements in the UAE," he said.
"He also asked me for names of 4 more players who may be interested in a similar deal I thought of Umar Gul, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam," Hameed added.
"I also called Umar Gul during this conversation to tell him about this potential contract deal and he agreed that I should continue with the negotiations," Hameed said.
"Then Abid Khan started asking about the current match fixing allegations and as I saw him as a friend and a potential agent, I naively started to answer his questions. He asked me about the match fixing allegations against the current three Pakistani players and if I had any further knowledge. As far as I can recall I only told him whatever I had already read in the newspapers about this matter," Hameed stated.
Hameed said two days after the meeting, he began receiving text messages telling him that the conversation between him and Abid had been taped.
"It seems that Abid had a hidden camera which I was totally unaware of.”
"I then left the hotel with my friend and came back to where I was staying. Two days later Abid then called me and offered me 25,000 pounds to give a statement against the 3 current players under investigation, which I immediately refused and put the phone down.”
"I neither called nor answered any calls from Abid after this conversation. When News of the World released my conversation, which Abid Khan recorded without me knowing about it, I was contacted by the media in Pakistan to confirm if I gave the statement to the NOTW, I denied categorically as explained above that this was not the case. Subsequently, I received a text message from Abid Khan from his number 07860109876, which I found to be intimidating as reflected in his message reproduced below," Hameed said.
Hameed said the message that he received stated, "Incidentally you are in video drinking wine and saying all the quotes attributed to you. Denying it is just stupid as we will be releasing the video to TV. Better that you stand up and speak the truth."
However, neither Hameed nor Rizvi explained why the player did not report his meeting with Abid Khan aka Mazhar Mahmood earlier to the team management.