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CRICKET: Taylor takes the stand in Pakistan

THE AUSTRALIAN captain, Mark Taylor, yesterday repeated allegations of bribery to a government-appointed judge investigating charges of match- rigging and betting in Pakistani cricket.

Ali Sibtain Fazli, a lawyer of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said from Lahore that Taylor and the Australian batsman Mark Waugh repeated allegations first made four years ago that Pakistan's then-captain, Salim Malik, had offered the touring side bribes to "throw" a Test match.

"Mark Taylor informed Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum that he was told by his players that Salim Malik had offered them a bribe. Mark Waugh repeated the allegations he levelled against Salim four year ago," Fazli said.

"Salim Malik was also present during the testimony and was given the opportunity to cross-examine the accuser [Mark Waugh]," Fazli added after the hearing in Lahore.

The PCB lawyer stated it was the end of the chapter "and the text of the testimony will not be released. No more Australian players will be asked to appear before the judicial commission."

The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) had earlier refused to allow its players to appear before the judicial commission. But after a summons was issued last week, the ACB chief executive, Malcolm Speed, flew to Pakistan and held several meetings with his PCB counterparts before agreeing to allow some of his players to appear.

Besides Waugh, Shane Warne and Tim May had also accused Salim of offering them a bribe to throw the Karachi Test when Australia toured Pakistan four years ago. However, Warne is not touring with the current Australian team as he is recovering from shoulder surgery, and May has retired from international cricket.

Salim and Wasim played in the first Test against Australia which the tourists won by an innings and 99 runs on Monday. "Mark Waugh basically repeated what he said in his (1995) affidavit," Fazli stated.

The text of Waugh's affidavit, which was written on April 1995 at Antigua during the tour of West Indies, states: "On the Australia tour of Pakistan in 1994, I attended a Presidential reception on the night before the one- day international at Rawalpindi.

"I was standing with Shane Warne when I was approached by Salim Malik. Malik said he wanted to talk to me about my arranging four or five Australian players to perform below their best and lose the game the next day in return for $200,000 (pounds 125,000). But I told him Australians did not play their cricket that way; we play to win for the country all the time."