No 'planned' match-fixing says report

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The Independent Online

A judicial inquiry has found "no planned match-fixing" by any Pakistani cricketers, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia, said yesterday.

"There has been no planned match-fixing found during the inquiry," Tauqir said. The Lahore High Court judge, Malik Abdul Qayyum, who conducted the inquiry, has, however, proposed "bans and fines" against some players "only because of their non-cooperation with the inquiry," the PCB chairman said.

About 70 players, officials and others testified during the year-long inquiry that ended last October, with the report submitted to the government the following month. Tauqir said the report would be made public within the next 10 days.

The cricket world "will get a lesson from our report and they will know how to conduct an inquiry," he said, adding that it was up to President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar, who is also patron of the cricket board, to order action on the recommendations.

The PCB chairman last week met the president, who asked for clarifications on certain points in the report. Tauqir said the board had taken legal advice and would re-submit the report to the president for approval to make it public.

"It is a well-written report which thoroughly covers all aspects of the alleged allegations of match-fixing on some cricketers," he said. "The report will not be tampered with and nothing will be hidden and concealed. We will tell the people what the report has ascertained and recommended on match-fixing and betting allegations. Pakistan's image will not be stained over this."

Bob Woolmer, who was the South Africa coach for five years until retiring after last year's World Cup, admits to feeling betrayed by Hansie Cronje ahead of the judicial investigation into alleged corruption among South Africa's cricketers. Woolmer initially defended Cronje when the latter was accused of match-fixing by police in New Delhi.

Cronje was later sacked as South Africa's captain after he admitted receiving money from a businessman and being dishonest to his board.

Now Woolmer fears the scandal may run deeper than he imagined and wonders whether Cronje may have become involved with betting during his own time in charge of the national team.

"The judicial investigation into alleged corruption among South Africa's cricketers should soon expose the truth. But I am worried there is a lot more to the Hansie Cronje scandal than meets the eye," said Woolmer, now the Warwickshire coach.

"Having defended Hansie vehemently for the first part of this rapidly unwinding scandal, I now feel betrayed and my suspicions against him have hardened.

"I have to look back and wonder whether he started flirting with betting and match-fixing during my tenure. I desperately hope not. I believe it would be the end of any respect I have had for him.

"Judge King's inquiry will be as thorough as Hansie used to be on the cricket field. But the evidence is pointing to an overwhelming damnation of South Africa's number one son."