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'Pak players involved in match-fixing'

Last updated on: February 16, 2010 12:09 IST

In a statement which is likely to dent Pakistan cricket's image further, Senator Enver Baig has accused the national team players of being involved in match-fixing.

Baig, who was especially invited to a meeting of the Senate's Standing Committee on Sports, asserted that match-fixing is the biggest problem in Pakistan cricket.

"The main problem in the Pakistan team is gambling and match-fixing. Most of the members of the Pakistan team are involved in it," The News quoted Baig, as saying.

Baig also blamed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the sorry state of the sport in the country.

"The PCB committed a huge mistake by ignoring the findings of the Justice Qayyum report. They should have made it their top priority to eradicate this menace but it is a great misfortune that they didn't which is why our cricket continues to suffer," he said.

Terming the cash rich Indian Premier League (IPL) as a 'den of gambling', Baig said the PCB should not allow Pakistani cricketers to participate in the lucrative T20 tournament.

"India has become a big bookie centre and the IPL especially is a gambling den. PCB should ensure that our players stay away from it," he said

Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ejaz Butt told the Senate that he had to sack a PCB employee on suspicion of match-fixing.

Eye witnesses, who attended the long hearing in Islamabad confirmed that Butt made the revelation on being asked whether recommendations of the Justice Qayyum report on match-fixing were being implemented by the Board.

"A senator was speaking on the fact that the board had not even implemented recommendations of the Justice Qayyum report on match-fixing properly when Butt made his startling disclosure," an eye-witness said.

"Butt said that he got a report from the ICC anti-corruption unit head Sir Paul Condon which pointed to the said person's involvement in match-fixing," the eye witness said.

"Butt told the committee that after reading the report he had no option but to sack the person after a tour, he also indicated that person was recalled from a tour."

An insider did point out that it was not necessary that Butt had told the whole truth before the Senate.

"It might not be an official after all it could also be a player against whom the action has been taken, don't rule out that fact," the insider said.

Eyebrows have been raised over the exclusion of wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal from the Pakistan squad announced for the two Twenty20 matches against England in Dubai.

Interestingly, Butt also disclosed before the committee that he had told the coach, manager and captain on the recent tour of Australia that if Akmal was included in the team for the final Test in Hobart, they would all be called back from Australia on the first available flight.