Spot-fixing: Butt points finger at England cricketers

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> PCB chief Ijaz Butt said there are talks in the bookies circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose the third ODI.

Updated: September 19, 2010 16:40 IST
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New Delhi:

Turning the table on England, Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ijaz Butt said on Sunday there were talks in the bookies circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose the third ODI against Pakistan on Friday.

Speaking to NDTV on fresh spot fixing allegations, Butt said there is a conspiracy to defraud Pakistan and Pakistani cricket.

He also said he will soon make names of the person and groups involved in the conspiracy public. "We will shortly reveal the names of the people, the parties and the bodies involved in this sinister conspiracy and we also reserve the right to sue them for damages," Butt said.

"There is loud and clear talk in the bookies circle that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose the match," he said.

"No wonder there was total collapse of the English side," he added. Pakistan had defeated England by 23 runs on Friday.

"It is not only difficult but near impossible to stop this spot fixing thing in international matches. I don't think our players are involved in any fixing matches," Butt added.

He said Pakistani players and cricket had been unfairly labelled as cheats in the media.

"If this is not a conspiracy what is? None of our players have been proven guilty. All we have are allegations and yet our players are being targeted.

"Our players fought hard to win the third ODI and it is astonishing to know they were told the match is under investigation now," he said.

The International Cricket Council had launched an investigation into 'The Sun' tabloid's claim that the 3rd England vs Pakistan ODI was rigged by illegal betting syndicates in India and Dubai.

"Illegal bookies in India and Dubai apparently knew in advance what would happen so they could launch a betting coup. But The Sun's undercover team was able to pass details to ICC inspectors before the match began," the report said.

According to a report in 'The Sun', bookies knew details of Pakistan's innings before the match had even begun.

The ICC will now examine the suspicious scoring patterns in Pakistan innings, particularly two overs.

ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said, "Broadly, the information from The Sun newspaper appears to be correct. So we feel it is incumbent upon us to launch a full inquiry. Although at this stage we aren't stating anything untoward has taken place"

Lorgat reiterated that the ICC maintains a zero tolerance policy towards corruption in the game.

"Any player or official found guilty of an offence will face the full rigour of our robust Anti-Corruption Code so that we can ensure the integrity of the sport is maintained," he said.

The latest revelations comes close on the heels of the spot-fixing scandal that led to the suspension of Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and the pace duo of Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif.

Speaking to NDTV on Saturday, former ICC President, Ehsan Mani said he was astonished by the fresh allegations. "I m absolutely astonished to hear these allegations, obviously they seem to have some basis. For a team that, I assume it involves the Pak team and not the English but it may involve both, is already under the microscope, for them to come under such allegations again is absolutely astonishing," he said.

Mani had also said that the PCB should not deny any allegations, unless the allegations are proven wrong. "PCB should not deny any allegations, unless the allegations are proven wrong there is no point in denying it either," he said.

He, later, said it was surprising that that PCB had not taken lead in this matter. "Since the first allegations came out, the PCB should have made a probe, rather than let the ICC or anyone else take the lead on it. I think the PCB needs to go back to the drawing board and just think about the way it has been handling, not only this whole issue but the whole issue of how the message of corruption is down to the players," he added.

(With agency inputs)

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