Cricket: Waqar denies match fixing

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The Independent Online
WAQAR YOUNIS yesterday denied that he and Wasim Akram had deliberately bowled badly to lose a one-day game against England in 1992.

"We lost one-dayers in England because they are a good one-day side, and we did not throw away the match," Waqar told the Pakistan inquiry into match-fixing. But he also revealed that he once had to step in to stop a brawl between two of his team-mates over accusations of match-fixing.

Wicketkeeper Rashid Latif had accused the former Pakistan captain Salim Malik of being involved in fixing matches. "I had to step up and stop them fighting," Waqar told the inquiry, but he denied accusations by the former Test player Aaqib Javed that he had been given a car after a match was fixed in Sri Lanka in 1994.

Waqar initially denied any knowledge of match-fixing, but the judge became angry and warned him he faced serious action if he did not tell the truth. After the warning he revealed the altercation between Rashid and Malik.

He also told the inquiry that two Test players retired because they were convinced matches were rigged. "Waqar admitted that Rashid Latif and Basit Ali retired from international cricket [in 1994-95 in South Africa] after they had a clash with Salim Malik on match-fixing," Ali Sibtain Fazli, the lawyer for the Pakistan Cricket Board, quoted Waqar Younis as telling the judicial commission head, Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum.

"Waqar said he knew about the rift between the players and claimed to have tried to play the role of a mediator. But Rashid and Basit refused to play alongside Salim Malik," Fazli said.

The inquiry has thrown a shadow over the current series between Australia and Pakistan, which continues with the second Test beginning in Peshawar today. The Yorkshire batsman Darren Lehmann will be missing from the Australian line-up because of a groin injury.

The left-hander scored 98 for Australia in the first Test and followed up with centuries in each innings in the tour game against Rawalpindi.

The Australians will still be hopeful of clinching a historic series triumph after easily winning the first Test in Rawalpindi by an innings and 99 runs. No Australian side has won a Test series in Pakistan since Richie Benaud's team won 2-0 in 1959-60, but their cause has been helped with Pakistan having been hit by injuries and many of their players have their minds on the match-fixing inquiry.

Shane Warne, meanwhile, is unlikely to testify at the inquiry after rejecting offers to be a commentator at the mini-World Cup in Bangladesh this month. The Australian leg-spinner, who accused the former Pakistan captain Salim Malik of offering bribes during Australia's 1994 tour of Pakistan, had been asked to go to Lahore if he travelled to Bangladesh. Warne, who has already submitted a sworn statement, said he wanted to concentrate on his recovery from a serious shoulder injury.

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