CRICKET :Suspension for Salim

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The Independent Online

The captain of Pakistan, Salim Malik, who has been accused of offering bribes to two Australian players to throw a Test last year, was yesterday sacked from his post by his country's cricket authorities.

The team manager, Intikhab Alam, the former Surrey player, has also been sacked from his position, though it was not immediately known whether his dismissal was as a result of an internal Pakistani inquiry into the bribery allegations, or for any other disciplinary matter.

A statement from the Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan said Salim had been asked to explain his conduct within seven days, during which time he will be suspended from first-class cricket. A new captain and team manager will be named for the Asia Cup limited-overs tournament in Sharjah next month.

Last month a Melbourne newspaper claimed two Australian players, Shane Warne and Tim May, had been offered £33,000 each by Salim to lose the first Test in Karachi last September. Salim has denied the charges.

"Based on the evidence available to it, [the BCCP] has asked Salim Malik to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him," yesterday's statement said. "He was asked to reply to the charges within seven days. Until that time, he is suspended from playing cricket for Pakistan or any first-class team."

The BCCP is also seeking explanations from "certain other players", but did not name them.

Salim was first appointed Pakistan captain in January last year to defuse a players' revolt against the-then captain, Wasim Akram. His initial assignment, a tour of Bangladesh and New Zealand, immediately followed.

Salim has recently returned from leading Pakistan on a three-month tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe that was marked by erratic form and controversy. He was fined half his match fee in the third and final Test against Zimbabwe for accusing a local umpire, Ian Robinson, of ball-tampering.

Then the vice-captain and wicketkeeper, Rashid Latif, and the talented middle-order batsman, Basit Ali, unexpectedly announced that they were retiring from international cricket. Both players left the tour with two one-day games still to play.