ICC launches fresh England-Pakistan fix probe

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The Independent Online

The International Cricket Council has launched an investigation into yesterday's England-Pakistan one-day international based on information which suggested a scoring pattern in Pakistan's innings was prearranged.

The ICC said today that the investigation was based on information passed on by The Sun newspaper.

"A source informed The Sun newspaper that a certain scoring pattern would emerge during certain stages of the match and, broadly speaking, that information appeared to be correct," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.

The investigation comes after a previous fixing scandal on the tour, when a player agent allegedly received money for organizing players to bowl no-balls at prearranged times so as to fix spot betting markets.

The Sun newspaper claimed it had passed on the information to the ICC before yesterday's third one-day international began at The Oval after it received details of calls between a notorious Dubai-based match fixer and a Delhi bookie.

"Cricket chiefs then watched as Pakistan's score mirrored the target that bookies had been told in advance by a fixer," the newspaper said.

The Sun's report said ICC officials began their investigations even before Pakistan's innings had ended, and that "it is not thought that the overall result was fixed, only scoring rates in parts of Pakistan's innings."

The ICC said it will work with The Sun newspaper staff and sources to "ensure full truth surrounding this match is ascertained."

A Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman Nadeem Sarwar said today that "the ICC has already issued its statement and we don't think it is appropriate for us to comment at this stage."

The Pakistan team had been dogged by fixing claims throughout the tour, including allegations that a test between Pakistan and Australia in July was rigged after players were paid £700,000.

The earlier no-ball fixing allegations resulted in the ICC suspending Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir while a fourth Pakistan player Wahab Riaz was questioned by Scotland Yard last Tuesday.

The suspended cricketers had replied to the notices of the ICC, but the game's governing body was yet to set a date for a hearing.

That initial fixing controversy had triggered calls from some quarters for the remainder of the tour to be called off. The PCB's director general Javed Miandad wanted the entire team changed for the one-day series.

Former captain Miandad wanted Younis Khan to lead the new team and he even offered his services to coach the side.