London: The boss of England’s cricketers’ union says the Pakistan players implicated by match-fixing allegations should be removed from the current tour of England.
Professional Cricketers’ Association chief executive Angus Porter said it is important that any players linked to the scandal aren’t allowed to play in the two Twenty20 matches and five one-day internationals between Pakistan and England.
“I have not yet spoken to (England captain) Andrew Strauss and the players but there are talks underway,” Porter told The Associated Press. “But my own view is that the series should go ahead but without the players who have been named. I think that is important.
“The allegations are unproven as yet, but I think there is sufficient evidence at least for an employer to suspend an employee pending an investigation,” he added, referring to the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Pakistan bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, captain Salman Butt and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal were spoken to by police after they were named in an undercover investigation by the News of the World newspaper.
The British tabloid reported Sunday that a cricket agent had arranged when no-balls would be bowled on Thursday’s opening day of the fourth test at Lord’s.
If the ODI and Twenty20 matches were to be canceled, it would likely to cost the England and Wales Cricket Board about USD 15 million in lost ticket sales and media rights income from host broadcaster Sky Sports.
“I don’t know the exact figure but it would be in the detail of the Sky contract, but we are talking about massive sums of money,” Porter said. “But there is a matter of principle here. There are allegations, which have not yet been proven, but the evidence does look pretty black and white. I do believe the series must go on, and at least it would be played under extreme scrutiny now.
“Everybody is still trying to digest what has happened, and Straussy is still with the England management. I will be talking to Andrew shortly. I think the players’ view will be as long as it is not a safety and security matter, they would like to play.”
The PCB is yet to announce its next move. Team manager Yawar Saeed said there are no plans for any player to leave the squad.
“This is something new to me,” Saeed said. “That would be a matter between the ECB and PCB and, at the moment, nobody has mentioned anything to me about players being released from the squad. We are going to Taunton as normal.”
Pakistan plays a warm-up match against Somerset at Taunton on Thursday before the first Twenty20 match against England on Sunday.