Akram for legal action against false accusers of fixing
Published: Thursday, July 11, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
PCB moots legal action against match-fixing accusers
Thatsspecial: English Summer
Islamabad: Celebrated Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram on Thursday backed plans to take action against those accusing national players of match-fixing based on flimsy evidence. "Its better late than never and I am relieved that if a process is evolved then no one would come up with baseless allegations against the Pakistan team and players," Wasim told reporters. "I had enough of it. So it would come as a big relief for me and I am preparing to take my accusers to court in the very near future." Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday said it is creating a system to take action against those who level match- fixing allegations without sufficient evidence. A judicial probe by Lahore High court judge Justice Karamat Bhandari last month cleared the Pakistan team and its players of match-fixing charges in the 1999 World Cup held in England. Pakistan's two surprising defeats - against minnows Bangladesh by 62 runs and against India by 47 runs - were widely alleged to have been rigged. The Bhandari commission recommended action should be taken against accusers and directed players to take to court those who point fingers at them without proof. The 36-year old Wasim, who led Pakistan to become runners-up in the 1999 World Cup, said the commission's findings must end the controversy once and for all. "We heard the news in Australia and it has come as a huge relief for a person like me who was subjected to three or four inquiries... and mud slinging. This will improve the image of Pakistan cricket and players who have been wrongly tarnished," he said. Wasim was one of six Pakistani players fined for non-cooperation with Justice Mallik Mohammad Qayyum's inquiry held in 1998 and 1999. Former Pakistan pacer Ataur Rehman, now serving a life ban for perjury, alleged Wasim paid him Rupees 300,000 ($ 5,000) to under perform in a One-day game in New Zealand in 1994. Wasim, who has announced he will quit the game after next year's World Cup in South Africa, said he is satisfied with the steps taken to curb match-fixing. "The present Pakistan Cricket Board has done a lot, held neutral inquiries and the International Cricket Council (ICC) is doing its utmost." The former captain rejected fears that if Pakistan loses again such allegations will creep up again. "Pakistan team is playing as a unit and would be a team to watch in the World Cup so I don't fear any such thing." South Africa hosts the eighth World Cup in February- March next year.