Karachi: The ‘spot-fixing’ scandal that has rocked Pakistan cricket has shocked former ICC President Ehsan Mani, who is baffled how a bookie managed to get in touch with the players despite restrictions imposed by the anti-corruption unit.
“This latest scandal has come as a total shock to me. It is so bad for the image of cricket which we are trying to globalise,” Mani told ‘Geo Super’ channel.
“How this happened is beyond me, what was the Pakistan team management or the ICC anti-corruption unit doing?” he added.
Mani said wondered what the ICC was doing considering that a tabloid such as ‘News of the World’ has uncovered the links between the middleman and players.
“It is a sad day for cricket. It took a long time for cricket to regain its credibility after the match fixing scandal in the 90s. I just hope all that is being reported is not true,” Mani added.
The former ICC President’s comments came after the ICC and London metropolitan police confirmed the arrest of a 35-year old Pakistani man who allegedly paid money to some Pakistani players for ‘spot-fixing’ during the ongoing fourth Test at Lords against England.
The metropolitan police visited the Pakistan team hotel last night and questioned the players and manager Yawar Saeed for taking their statements.
Television footage showed the detectives leaving the hotel with plastic bags with some items in them apparently taken from the players rooms.
Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Tauqir Zia said the controversy is saddening.
“I don’t know what to say the only thing we can now do is take immediate damage control steps. I hope these allegations are not true but the fact is that the image and credibility of Pakistan cricket has already been damaged,” Zia told repoters.
He called on the government to instruct the board to call back the concerned players and officials after the fourth Test and hold a proper inquiry at home.
“No one can say match-fixing does not take place in international cricket. When we held an inquiry when I was Chairman they were players from other countries involved in it as well,” he stated.
This is not the first time that Pakistani players have been accused of fixing in matches and in 2000 the board had banned former captain, Salim Malik for life and fined five other players for their involvement in match-fixing.