Lorgat rebukes Ijaz Butt over England claims

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/e/ejaz-butt.jpg' class='caption'> Haroon Lorgat has criticised Pakistan chief Ijaz Butt for going public with allegations that England had 'thrown' a recent ODI.

Updated: September 29, 2010 15:38 IST
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World cricket's top professional administrator Haroon Lorgat on Wednesday criticised Pakistan chief Ijaz Butt for going public with allegations that England had 'thrown' a recent one-day international.

Lorgat, the International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive, said he wished Ijaz Butt had approached the global governing body, or its anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU), before going public with claims that strained cricket relations between England and Pakistan to breaking point.

"I would have been much more satisfied with an approach to the ICC or ACSU," Lorgat told reporters in a telephone conference call today.

But he insisted the "game is bigger than any one of us" and rejected calls led by England great Ian Botham for Pakistan to be suspended from international cricket as a result of the spot-fixing allegations engulfing the team.

"I do not subscribe to the view that if, charges against a few individuals are proven, a country should be banned. The entire nation is not responsible.

"There are provisions (for the ICC to suspend a country) but we are not contemplating anything like that right now," Lorgat added.

His remarks came just hours after the South African confirmed Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt was appealing against his provisional suspension.

Salman Butt, together with Pakistan fast bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif, was banned from playing by the ICC after allegations made by Britain's News of the World (NoW) tabloid that they'd been involved in a plot to bowl deliberate no-balls during last month's Test against England at Lord's as part of a betting scam.

The allegations have since become the subject of a Scotland Yard investigation.

All the trio had the right of appeal and Lorgat said Salman Butt had taken up the option, which will now be subject to a new hearing to be chaired by leading English lawyer Michael Beloff.

The ICC has yet to receive appeals from either Aamer or Asif.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt later alleged England players were paid "enormous amounts of money" to lose this month's third one-day international at The Oval.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have threatened legal action against Ijaz Butt, unless he "unreservedly" apologises for remarks he said at the time were merely a case of him repeating something he'd heard from bookmakers.

His comments were viewed as a snub to the ECB, which had also 'helped out' Pakistan by agreeing to stage their 'home' series against Australia in England shortly before the matches against their own teams.

International cricket in Pakistan came to a standstill following an armed attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore last year.

ECB chairman Giles Clarke, due to meet with Ijaz Butt on Wednesday, is also the chairman of the ICC's Pakistan task team and Lorgat stressed: "Giles Clarke is still as interested as I am in helping Pakistan cricket."

Ijaz Butt's comments were not the only claims surrounding The Oval one-dayer.

Britain's Sun, the daily 'sister' paper of the NoW, alleged the scoring pattern of Pakistan's innings in the match was pre-arranged with bookmakers.

The Sun report was much less detailed than the one in the NoW but Lorgat defended the ICC's decision to use it as a springboard for a separate investigation.

"We were provided with credible information. We are still validating that information. If there is nothing of substance, we will say so, and, equally, if we act, we will say so."

Lorgat added the structure of the ACSU was currently under review to see if it was still properly equipped to combat cricket fixing although he said the current set-up had been "sufficient to this stage".

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