ICC investigates third England-Pak ODI

Zeecric Bureau

London: The International Cricket Council has launched an investigation into Friday’s England-Pakistan one-day international after information indicated a scoring pattern was prearranged.

The British media has claimed that some bookmakers had information prior to the match as to how Pakistan’s innings might proceed. Two overs have particularly come under the suspicion.

The ICC said on Saturday that the investigation was based on information passed on by The Sun newspaper in England.

In a statement, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said “a source informed The Sun newspaper that a certain scoring pattern would emerge during certain stages of the match and, broadly speaking, that information appeared to be correct.”

The latest news of spot-fixing would definitely mar Pakistan’s brilliant win over England. It would also hamper Afridi’s attempt to re-establish people’s faith in the Pakistani team after the earlier spot-fixing allegations which had rocked the cricket world a fortnight back. Three Pakistani Test players - captain Salman Butt and pace duo of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif - were accused of deliberately bowling no-balls at the behest of a bookie called Mazhar Mazeed.

ICC officials were yesterday shocked to see that the information about the match, which was with the bookies, was similar to the way the Pakistani innings unfolded during the third ODI at the Oval.

It was also claimed that though the bookies knew about the certain things about the proceedings of the match, the eventual result of the match was not fixed as Pakistan pulled off a dramatic win over England after just managing to put up 241 while bating first.

The latest revelation came just an hour after the London Metropolitan Police confirmed they have sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over allegations of spot-fixing during the Lord’s Test.

Scotland Yard on Friday left it to the prosecutors whether to frame charges on Pakistani cricketers involved in the `spot-fixing` scandal.

Scotland Yard said evidence that there was a conspiracy to defraud bookmakers will now be considered by the Crown Prosecution Service.

“The Metropolitan Police Service has today delivered an initial file of evidence relating to conspiracy to defraud bookmakers to the CPS,” a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

“The file will now be subject to CPS consideration. This is an initial file and the Met investigation continues,” the spokesman said.

Scotland Yard`s announcement came a day after ICC president Sharad Pawar said that the police investigations into the scandal “will not take long”.

So far four Pakistani players -- Test captain Salman Butt, and pacers Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamir and Wahab Riaz – have been questioned by the police after a British tabloid claimed that the first three cricketers took money from an alleged bookie Mazhar Majeed to bowl no-balls during the Lord`s Test.

Butt, Asif and Aamir have been suspended by ICC pending investigations. The trio, however, have returned to Pakistan following an agreement with Scotland Yard that they would fly back to Britain at any time for further questioning.

The trio have already replied to notices issued to them by ICC and have sought a date to present their case.

The investigation comes after a previous fixing scandal on the tour, when an agent for players allegedly received money in return for organizing players to bowl no-balls at prearranged times so as to fix spot betting markets.

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