Oval fiasco: Pak Senator fears match-fixing!

Published: Tuesday, October 31, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:In a new twist to the Oval Test fiasco, Pakistan Senate's Standing Committee on Sports has raised doubts that 'match fixing' could have been the actual reason behind Pakistan's forfeiture of the controversial match against England.

''On the fourth day of The Oval Test when Pakistan were in a strong position to win the match, one of the leading British bookmakers William Hill, were offering 14-1 odds for an upset. And when our team forfeited the match, it was awarded to England. In such circumstances, there is no reason why one should not fear the worst.

Personally, I fear that there could have been an element of match-fixing involved,'' Senator Enver Baig, a member of the committee, told 'The News'.

The Pakistan team had refused to take to the field after tea following accusations of ball-tampering by umpire Darrell Hair. The umpires forfeited the match in England's favour leading to a major furore.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq was charged with ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute. He was cleared of the first charge but is serving a four-ODI ban for the latter.

Mr Baig said he raised the controversial point during the committee's meeting during which Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Nasim Ashraf explained the state of the game in the country.

''I asked the PCB chief, who was present at The Oval, as to what happened there. I also asked him who was responsible for the forfeiture of that match. He said that it was Inzamam-ul-Haq who refused to take the field because of ball tampering charges,'' said Baig.

The senator said the PCB should have acted tough against Inzamam for his 'indiscipline' during the match. Mr Baig felt the skipper brought the nation into disrepute by his actions.

''He (Inzamam) should have known the rules. He should have known that by not taking the field, he was not just bringing the game, but the entire nation into disrepute,'' he said.

Citing the 'suspect' past of coach Bob Woolmer, who was earlier with the South African team, Mr Baig said his association with the Pakistan team at the time of the Oval fiasco adds to his suspicions that the match may have been fixed.

''Woolmer was South Africa's coach at the time when some members of that team including its former captain Hansie Cronje had dealings with book-makers. He was at the helm of our team at The Oval which is why I have my doubts over the reasons behind forfeiting that match,'' he said.

However, Mr Baig's doubts have been dismissed by Dr Ashraf, who said fixing the match was next to impossible as the ICC was strictly monitoring the proceedings.

''There were no chances of match-fixing because the ICC monitored every match very strictly through its match fixing committee,'' he was quoted as saying during the meeting by 'The Nation'.

Meanwhile, the PCB chairman also revealed that the board's new constitution would be implemented by January 31 next year. The constitution is awaiting clearance from the PCB patron-in-chief and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.


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