Pakistan critical on bribes

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Omar Kureishi, the vice-chairman of the committee for the World Cup in Pakistan next year, accused the Australian Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council of adopting a wrong approach to bribery allegations against Pakistan cricketers.

Their conduct "suggests that the ACB and ICC want to move against our players without any reference to our own cricket board," Kureishi said.

The ICC said yesterday they had not imposed a deadline on Pakistan's internal inquiry into claims of bribery on Australia's tour there last year.

"I didn't ask for a particular time line," Dave Richards, the ICC chief executive, said after discussing the scandal at a meeting with the ACB in Sydney.

The Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP) announced last week they would be holding an inquiry into the claims, including an alleged bribe offer by the Pakistan captain, Salim Malik, to the Australian spin bowlers, Shane Warne and Tim May, to influence the result of the first Test in Karachi last October. Salim has denied the charges.

Pakistan's cricket authorities are determined to stage the World Cup next year despite the controversy involving their players.

"Basically we are here to ensure that we hold a successful tournament in Pakistan," Salman Taseer, another committe member, said.

Taseer added that the bribes controversy had nothing to do with the World Cup, to be hosted by Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka in February and March.

"We are not taking any notice of that. There have always been scandals related to sports but that does not mean that it would have an effect on the main event," he said.