Cricket: Warne and Waugh ordered to inquiry

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The Independent Online
THE AUSTRALIAN Cricket Board has received a summons from a Pakistan judge asking for Shane Warne and Mark Waugh to appear before a betting and match-fixing inquiry.

"We've received it and we've told the players we've received it, but we won't discuss it at any length until they've finished their matches," ACB spokes-man Patrick Keane said yesterday. Waugh is playing for Australia in the third Ashes test against England, which ends today.

Warne, still recovering from the effects of shoulder surgery, captained his Victoria state side in a domestic four-day Sheffield Shield match which ended in a draw against Queensland at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday.

The two admitted last week that they had taken money from a bookmaker to provide pitch and weather information during Australia's 1994 tour of Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The pair were secretly fined by the ACB in early 1995 but the incident was not revealed until last week.

A spokesman for the Pakistan Cricket Board said that Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum had issued a summons directing Waugh and Warne to appear before the inquiry on 19 December.

In October, during Australia's last tour of Pakistan, Waugh testified that former national captain Salim Malik had offered him a bribe during Australia's 1994 sub-continent tour. Malik has denied the allegations, and says the recent admissions by the two Australians prove his innocence. The judge leading the inquiry said Waugh's credibility had been damaged by his admission.

Waugh and Warne are both scheduled to play in a Sheffield Shield match in Sydney starting on 19 December and Warne has not travelled to Pakistan since the 1994 tour. Warne declined an earlier request to appear before the inquiry.

The pair both strongly denied being involved in match-fixing or bribery. Warne said yesterday that he would decide in the next 48 hours, in conjunction with the ACB, whether or not to go to Pakistan.

He said his version of events would not differ from what he had said four years ago and rejected any suggestion the fact that he and Waugh had received money from a bookmaker would taint their credibility as witnesses. "Nothing has changed. The same thing still happened," he said of the Malik affair.

"Yes, Mark and I were involved with a bookmaker but nothing has changed between what happened between Salim Malik, myself, Mark Waugh and Tim May. He still offered us money to throw a game and we said `No'."

Warne said the past week had been difficult and, in hindsight, it might have been better had the ACB not withheld the information four years ago.

He said he was determined not to let the controversy get the better of him. "I've still got a smile," Warne said after Victoria's match yesterday. "There is a lot of talk going around but so what, there is always going to be rumour and innuendo.

"I'm still the same person I have been for 29 years and people that are close to me still know what sort of person I am. But in these sorts of situations I suppose you work out who your real friends are, who aren't and who is on your side and who isn't."

Meanwhile, world cricket's governing body is to launch an inquiry into a wave of damaging match-fixing and betting allegations.

International Cricket Council president, Jagmohan Dal- miya, said the situation had reached a point where the ICC could no longer sit on the fence and ignore the effects of the claims.

"Unfortunately the very fabric of the great game is being damaged due to the charges of match fixing or betting brought by the players," said Dalmiya.

Dalmiya said: "It is time for the ICC to step in as these allegations are spreading like a wild infection. If anybody is found guilty then stringent action should be taken."

He added that the ICC would act in a decisive manner and not allow the issue to be swept under the carpet.