MacLaurin changes tack to heal split with Pakistan

Lord Maclaurin, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, yesterday signalled a change of policy with respect to players suspected of involvement in match-fixing.

Lord Maclaurin, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, yesterday signalled a change of policy with respect to players suspected of involvement in match-fixing.

Given that England had described this as a bridge-building tour 13 years after the last one, which suffered from a heated dispute between the umpire Shakoor Rana and England's Mike Gatting, MacLaurin had gone a long way to burning most of those bridges with his assertion that any player suspected of corruption should be suspended, especially since his comments appeared to be aimed specifically at Pakistan's Wasim Akram.

Accusations of hypocrisy by angry Pakistani officials and players followed when Alec Stewart was permitted to remain with the England party earlier this week, after claims by an Indian bookmaker that he had been paid money for "information". MacLaurin, however, claimed that his original statement had been misinterpreted in an apparent attempt to repair relations.

"I am very sad about that," he said, "because I know the Pakistan administrators very well indeed. I was with them in Nairobi just a few weeks ago at an ICC [International Cricket Council] meeting and they are very honourable people. I get on very well with them and it would be very sad indeed if remarks are misinterpreted by journalists, for one reason or another, trying to put a wedge between ourselves and Pakistan.

But with the Test series less than a fortnight away MacLaurin has denied he was guilty of hypocrisy in allowing Stewart to remain on the tour despite what he had said last month.

"If Alec Stewart had not co-operated with us fully on Wednesday morning when we had a very long conference call with him, my board and I would have suspended him," insisted MacLaurin, who has been one of the prime movers trying to clean up the game.

"As soon as we contacted Alec he made his declarations to us quite clearly, therefore we had no reason to ask him to go home. If there is suspicion against any of our players and they fail to talk to me or my colleagues, they will be suspended."

The report into match-fixing commissioned by the Indian government and compiled by that country's Central Bureau of Investigation accused five Indian and nine international cricketers, among them Stewart, either of accepting money from bookmakers for "information" or of fixing matches. However, most of their evidence seems to rest on the testimony of one Indian former bookmaker, M K Gupta.

Stewart has denied the allegations, but the five Indians, among them Mohammad Azharuddin, the country's former captain, have been banned from all domestic competition by their state associations at the request of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. According to the CBI, Azharuddin has admitted to fixing matches, but the player has yet to comment on the allegations.

Other players have admitted to approaches, the latest being Sri Lanka's Aravinda de Silva, but he said that, having been approached by bookmakers with offers to fix cricket matches, he had never accepted any money.

De Silva was one of two Sri Lankans named by the CBI as having allegedly taken more than £10,000 in 1994 to lose a Test match against India in Lucknow. The other player named, Arjuna Ranatunga, has denied the charges.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore