Judge admits possibility of leniency over punishment for Wasim

Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum, the High Court judge who headed the inquiry into allegations of match fixing in Pakistan, has admitted that his admiration for Wasim Akram as a cricketer might have caused him to be lenient in the punishment he delivered to the former captain in 2000.

Wasim was one of several Pakistani players implicated in the match-fixing scandals that rocked cricket at the turn of the new century. But unlike fellow Pakistan team-mates Saleem Malik and Ata-ur-Rahman, who received life bans from the game, Qayyum fined Wasim and recommended that he never be allowed to captain his country again.

But he stopped short of delivering a clear verdict that the all-rounder was involved in corruption or not. In his report tabled in 2000, the now retired judge said: "This commission feels that all is not well here and that Wasim Akram is not above board. He has not co-operated with the Commission. It is only by giving Wasim Akram the benefit of the doubt after Ata-ur-Rahman changed his testimony in suspicious circumstances that he has not been found guilty of match-fixing. He cannot be said to be above suspicion."

Yet over five years after the report was released, and more than seven years after the inquiry began, Justice Qayyum said he had not wanted a "great cricketer" like Wasim to be banned.

"For Wasim I had some soft corner for him," Qayyum was quoted as saying in an interview on cricinfo.com. "He was a very great player, a very great bowler and I was his fan, and therefore that thing did weigh with me. Two things - one, I didn't want cricket deprived of his participation, and the other was that towards the end of his career... [I didn't want him] banned or something like that. My idea was not to find people guilty and then punish them. It was more a case where I had to do something to put an end to the practice in future. What had happened had happened. You couldn't turn the clock back but you had to make sure they wouldn't repeat what they were doing."

Justice Qayyum's report, which was made public in May 2000, received criticism for being too vague and, when asked whether any other players had been let off lightly, Qayyum said: "The quantum of punishment is more of one's subjective decision, and I was lenient towards one or two of them."

Qayyum also rued the fact that his investigation into questionable games at the 1999 World Cup in England was blocked. The most controversial match was between Pakistan and Bangladesh in Northampton. Wasim was Pakistan captain at the time and his side lost by 62 runs. The result helped Bangladesh gain full Test status several years ahead of when they were expected to get it. "I was asked to investigate the World Cup also but when they knew the line which I was taking, they somehow got it stopped," he said. "The subsequent inquiry that was set up is by Justice Bhandari. He exonerated all players."

Wasim, who took 414 wickets in 104 Test matches and is the highest wicket taker in one-day cricket with 502 victims, retired from international cricket at the end of the 2003 World Cup and now works for ESPN in Singapore as a commentator.

Wasim's solicitor, Naynesh Desai, responded to Qayyum's comments: "It beggars belief that he can say something like this six years after the event. He is not suggesting that Wasim lied to him, but that he had let him off because he liked him. It looks like the judge is peeved about something and he is having a pop at everyone. How can he help Saleem Malik on his appeal when he banned him from the game in the first place?"

Who was who in the Wasim Akram match-fixing allegations

On the 9 September 1998 various high-profile members of the cricketing world were called together to discuss alleged match-fixing involving the Pakistan cricket team. The main suspects were:

WASIM AKRAM

Ata-ur-Rehman alleged Wasim Akram paid him 100,000 rupees to bowl badly in a one-day international against New Zealand, 1994. Akram also withdrew from the 1996 World Cup quarter final against India five minutes before the start of the match claiming injury, a move which according to vice-captain Aamir Sohail was "fatal" to the outcome. Tampering with batting orders to influence the game was another accusation.

Result: Ata-ur-Rehman's statements "cannot be believed with any degree of certainty," and Akram was cleared. Rehman had withdrawn and rewritten various statements numerous times. He also claimed to be taking responsibility for the team by going into bat earlier and the injury could not be proved either way. He was cleared of both charges, but found guilty of being uncooperative with the investigation and fined £3,700. "It is only by giving Wasim Akram the benefit of the doubt after Ata-ur-Rehman changed his testimony in suspicious circumstances that he has not been found guilty of match-fixing," said Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum.

SALIM MALIK

Was paid $100,000 to lose the second match of a one-day series. He also offered Shane Warne and Tim May $200,000 to bowl badly in the first Test between Australia and Pakistan in 1994.

Result: Malik was banned for life and will never be allowed to play, coach or administrate cricket again. Fined £12,000.

ATA-UR-REHMAN

Was alleged to be involved in "general match-fixing". Result: He was banned from playing international cricket indefinitely and fined twice as much as he received from Wasim Akram, around £1,200.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home