Malik describes Arthur’s claims as “ridiculous”

Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has described as “ridiculous” the claims by the former South African cricket team coach Mickey Arthur that he and his players suspected that a One-day International played in 2007 against Pakistan was ‘fixed’.

Malik was the Pakistan skipper in that match played at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, which the home side lost from a winning position to everyone’s surprised.

Arthur told South African website News24 that his team suspected match-fixing when Pakistan collapsed dramatically to lose the fifth and decisive ODI to South Africa in Lahore three years ago.

“There was a strong suspicion of match-fixing and it took some of the gloss off the series win,” Arthur had said earlier this week.

Needing 234 to win the series, Pakistan went from 149-2 and 209-6 to 219 all out. No allegations were made against the Pakistani team at that time.

“We did not have any proof, but when you have been involved in the game long enough you know when something is not right,” Arthur further claimed.

However, Malik said he was shocked at the claims made by Arthur.

“His claim is ridiculous and I don’t understand why after all these years he suddenly remembered this now,” Malik said.

“I am really disappointed with his statement because I remember we were shattered after losing that match as we were in a strong position,” Malik said.

The Pakistan all-rounder said he wouldn’t give much importance to what Arthur had said as everyone now wanted to sensationalise the atmosphere more, which is already created by the spot-fixing allegations.

“How seriously can you take such a statement after all these years? If they had suspicions, why did they keep quiet? He (Arthur) should have gone to the ICC anti-corruption unit. Why try to defame Pakistan cricket now?,” asked Malik before leaving for Hong Kong.

Pakistan cricket is presently entangled in a web of controversy as three of their top players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif were provisionally suspended by the ICC over allegations that they were involved in spot-fixing during Pakistan’s summer tour of England.

They are now getting ready for a full hearing of the ICC that will decide if they were involved in alleged spot-fixing.

Malik, who was dropped from the national team since the one-day series in England, meanwhile, said that he was going to Hong Kong with high hopes of reminding the selectors that they should not forget him while finalising the 2011 World Cup probables.