Lahore: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram on Saturday told a match-fixing commission that allegations his team rigged two matches at the 1999 World Cup were baseless.
|The commission headed by Justice Karamat Nazir Bhandari of the Lahore High Court is investigating Pakistan's two defeats against outsiders Bangladesh and India at the World Cup in England. "We took Bangladesh very lightly and since we had qualified for the semi-final complacency got the better of us and we lost," Akram told the commission. He said Pakistan went into the match against India "just like war" but his team was simply outgunned on the day. "We lost the toss in that match and after India scored 227-odd runs, I thought it would be easy for us," Akram said. "There is no question of losing deliberately to India, but I think we got tense due to the very noisy crowd and then we lost wickets early in the run chase." The commission has received a letter from one of the umpires in the Pakistan- Bangladesh game, New Zealander Doug Cowie, who described Akram's side as 'complacent and careless.' "The Pakistan team seemed to be going through the motions while Bangladesh players fielded, bowled and batted well," Cowie wrote in the letter, which was read to the commission. The commission, appointed in May 2001, has until January 15 to submit its report to the government. Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Majid Khan and ex-fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz have told the commission that events before the suspect matches suggested they were fixed. Ali Bacher, head of South Africa's 2003 World Cup committee, told a match-fixing commission in South Africa 2000 that Pakistan played two fixed games in the 1999 World Cup, but he has failed to provide evidence. The PCB is under tremendous pressure from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to investigate the allegations and submit a report. Match-fixing allegations have rocked the game since the explosive South African inquiry, with three former captains - Pakistan's Salim Malik, South African Hansie Cronje and Indian Mohammad Azharuddin - serving life bans. After an earlier match fixing inquiry here between September 1998 and October 1999, Malik and pace bowler Ataur Rehman were banned for life, while five other players including Akram were fined. The Bhandari inquiry is continuing. |