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Pak cricketers told to stay away from controversies

Karachi: Pakistan`s cricketers have been told to be extra careful during the tour of England and avoid getting into any controversy.

Pakistan`s English daily The News reported that the team management had warned the players against carelessness that might trigger suspicions of match-fixing against the team or a team member.

According to the report, team manager Yawar Saeed held separate meetings with the players to brief them about the need to avoid any unpleasant incident during the tour ending Sep 22.

Informed sources said the players have been told not to entertain any guests in their hotel rooms apart from their own family members.

The instructions, according to the sources, are particularly aimed at discouraging the players` agents from interacting with them during the tour that includes back-to-back series against Australia and England.

In recent times, several Pakistan cricketers have signed contracts with different agents, who help them rope in sponsorship deals and club contracts.

Normally, these agents frequently interact with the players and meet with them at the team hotels and match venues.

`But this time, the players have been strictly warned against inviting their agents at the team hotel or match venues,` said a source.

Pakistan cricket has suffered allegations of match-fixing for more than a decade.

In recent times, some of their key players including Kamran Akmal, Danish Kaneria and Mohammad Aamer have been suspected on various counts.

Akmal was accused of match-fixing following his awful performance behind the stumps in the Sydney Test against Australia. The stumper dropped Michael Hussey thrice allowing the veteran batsman to hit a match-winning hundred.

Kaneria, the Pakistan leg spinner, was questioned by London Police over his alleged role in a major scandal surrounding a Pro40 match he played for Essex last year. The investigation was focused on alleged spot-fixing in Essex`s match against Durham.

More recently, suspicions were raised against Aamer after the young pacer was filmed allegedly talking on a monile phone from the Pakistani dressing room during an Asia Cup match against Sri Lanka in Dambulla last month.

According to ICC code of conduct, players are not allowed to take their mobile phones to the dressing room during international matches.

Aamer`s poor show with the bat (5 runs from 14 balls) in the low-scoring match that Pakistan lost further fuelled suspicion. However, the ICC`s anti-corruption unit cleared the youngster.

IANS

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