England-Pak series to continue, ECB warns action against Butt

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/e/ecbnew.jpg' class='caption'> The ECB and the England team on Monday announced that they were committed to continuing with the current NatWest Series against Pakistan.

Updated: September 20, 2010 10:57 IST
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The England and Wales Cricket Board and the members of the England team on Monday decided to continue the current NatWest series with Pakistan.

Although, the ECB has warned of legal and disciplinary action against Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt for his remarks on Sunday about the England team's conduct in the third ODI at The Brit Insurance Oval.

Butt on Sunday had said there were talks in the bookies circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose the third ODI against Pakistan. (Read: Spot-fixing: Butt points finger at England cricketers)

The ECB and the England players completely rejected the remarks made by Butt. "Butt's comments were wholly irresponsible and completely without foundation," ECB said in a media statement.

The ECB and the team, however, are of a view that it remains in the best interests of world cricket, the players and in particular of cricket supporters that the tour should continue and it would set a dangerous precedent to call off a tour based on the misguided and inaccurate remarks made by one individual.

The decision was unanimously taken by the ECB following a meeting between the ECB Chairman Giles Clarke, CEO David Collier, ECB Managing Director - England Cricket, Hugh Morris, and the England Captain and Coach, Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flower and a subsequent meeting with all of the England team.

"The players fully understand their responsibilities as representatives of their country, and would not countenance giving less than 100% in any match they play," ECB said.
England captain Andrew Strauss said: "We would like to express our surprise, dismay and outrage at the comments made by Mr Butt yesterday. We are deeply concerned and disappointed that our integrity as cricketers has been brought into question. We refute these allegations completely and will be working closely with the ECB to explore all legal options open to us."
"Under the circumstances, we have strong misgivings about continuing to play the last two games of the current series and urge the Pakistani team and management to distance themselves from Mr Butt's allegations," he said.

"We do, however, recognise our responsibilities to the game of cricket, and in particular to the cricket-loving public in this country, and will therefore endeavour to fulfill these fixtures to the best of our ability," he added.

ECB also said that it will continue to offer ICC its full support in taking the strongest possible action against all areas of corruption and is pledged to offering the ACSU its full support at all times. (Read:ICC planning review of anti-corruption measures )

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