Cricket: Bribery inquest may be widened

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The Independent Online
THE INQUIRY into betting and match-fixing currently taking place in Pakistan could soon extend into other countries. The warning has come from Pakistani legal officials, who are currently in Australia to cross- examine Shane Warne and Mark Waugh.

The lawyers and court officials, who form part of the judicial inquiry into betting and match-fixing on the sub-continent, said the questioning of Warne and Waugh, which began in Melbourne yesterday, could stretch into the weekend.

The Lahore High Court registrar, Abdus Salam Khawar, arrived on Wednesday, along with the Pakistan Cricket Board's legal adviser, Ali Sibtain Fazli, and Azmat Saeed, the lawyer for the former Test captain Salim Malik.

Ali claimed the inquiry is not limiting its investigations to alleged incidents inside Pakistan. "It is definitely more than Pakistan," he said.

Warne and Waugh will be questioned over their admissions that they accepted payments from an Indian bookmaker to provide information on the weather during a one-day match in Sri Lanka in 1994.

Abdus said that, depending on the evidence given, the Melbourne inquiry could continue until tomorrow.

As the Australian Test players met Australian Cricket Board officials to prepare for the hearings, Warne insisted that he welcomed the opportunity to give evidence in public.

"It's probably best that everything's out there," Warne said yesterday. "The public deserves to know."

Prior to their own admissions being made public, Warne, Waugh and the former Australian spinner Tim May accused Salim of offering them money to perform poorly during the 1994 Pakistan tour - a claim the Pakistan batsman vehemently denies.

Waugh testified to the inquiry during Australia's tour of Pakistan last year, but that was before the incident with the Indian bookmaker became public knowledge.

"We want to know what has happened, the nature of what they did," Abdus said.

The inquiry had initially requested Waugh and Warne to fly to Pakistan to extend their testimonies but then agreed to send representatives to Australia after that fell through, and a planned video link-up also proved unfeasible.