Pakistan cricket under pressure after ICC warning

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Top former Pakistan cricket officials on Saturday slammed the ICC after the sport's governing body warned the local board needs to take extraordinary measures t

Updated: October 16, 2010 10:59 IST
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Top former Pakistan cricket officials on Saturday slammed the ICC after the sport's governing body warned the local board needs to take extraordinary measures to avoid sanctions over alleged corruption.

The International Cricket Council Wednesday issued a strict warning to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to implement a series of measures to solve problems faced by the country's cricket or risk sanctions.

"PCB must act and be seen to be acting to uphold the zero-tolerance attitude to corruption in sport and conduct a thorough review of players' integrity, educate them, implement a process and introduce an anti-corruption code in their domestic cricket," the ICC said in a statement after their two-day board meeting in Dubai.

"If the PCB fails to carry out the above to the satisfaction of the board within the next 30 days, the board will consider what further action (including, if appropriate, sanctions) is required in the circumstances," it said.

Pakistan cricket has been rocked by allegations of spot-fixing in the national team's recent tour of England, resulting in two separate inquiries.

The ICC ruled Wednesday there was no evidence of spot-fixing in the third one-day international between Pakistan and England last month but another inquiry, relating to the Lord's Test against England in August, is pending.

Three players -- Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohamnmad Aamer -- were provisionally suspended by the ICC after the trio was alleged to have taken money from a book-maker to deliberately bowl no-balls in the Test.

Former ICC president Ehsan Mani said the warning was insulting.

"It is damning," Mani told AFP. "It means that the ICC has publicly called that PCB has to regain confidence of the ICC, and put them under pressure to take serious steps."

Mani said the PCB should have sought an apology from the ICC after they found no evidence of spot-fixing in the Oval match.

"ICC hastily took action on a newspaper report," said Mani, referring to the tip off in British tabloid The Sun that Pakistan's scoring pattern in the Oval match was pre-arranged with the book-makers.

"ICC should have the courtesy to apologise to the Pakistan players and the PCB," he said.

"Since the PCB's position was so undermined that they cannot seek apology from the ICC," said Mani, who was ICC president 2003-2006.

Former PCB chairman Khalid Mahmood said the ICC warning was an insult to Pakistan.

"ICC warning is an insult to the whole nation," Mahmood told AFP. "This step of the ICC is an evidence of inability and incompetence of the PCB officials and they have clearly mishandled the whole situation."

But Mahmood said the ICC was not justified in warning Pakistan.

"ICC has cleared Pakistan of any corruption in the Oval one-day, Scotland Yard has yet to level any charges on the Lord's Test inquiry, under these circumstances the ICC warning is biased and unjustified."

Mahmood blamed the English media for creating problems for Pakistan cricket.

"English media is ready to raise as much muck on Pakistan team, without analysing and without evidence," he said.

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