Cricket: Wasim denies match-fixing

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WASIM AKRAM yesterday denied match-fixing and bribery allegations - and claimed there is a conspiracy against him.

The Lancashire captain was reacting after he was implicated, along with his Pakistan team-mates Salim Malik and Ijaz Ahmed, in match-fixing in an interim report by the Pakistan Cricket Board's investigations committee.

"I am really shocked and disappointed. Until and unless I am cross-examined [in court] no one can defame me like this," Wasim said. "I am a fighter and will fight back once I come back. I will not let my enemies destroy me. I am ready to take everyone on." He admitted, though, it would be difficult for him to play in his current frame of mind.

The 32-year-old all-rounder has been linked with match-fixing allegations since 1994. He was stripped of the national side's captaincy in January, and has turned down offers to lead Pakistan again. "It is a one-sided story and should not have come out. The allegations are baseless," Wasim said. "I do not know what is happening."

A judge heading the Cricket Board's investigation said he believed his committee was heading in the right direction and would finalise its report in three months. "We will give the accused players all the opportunities to clarify them," Justice Ejaz Yousuf said.

The Pakistan Cricket Board began its enquiry into match-fixing and betting after last year's Sharjah Cup, when Wasim led Pakistan to a 3-2 loss.

Wasim was also criticised after he did not play in the quarter-final of the 1996 World Cup against India due to a shoulder injury. Pakistan lost the match, triggering a severe public reaction against Wasim.