Pakistan livid with reports raising doubt over performance in Caribbean

Pakistan’s ODI series win over West Indies has garnered attention for irregular betting patterns © AFP

Karachi: Jul 28, 2013

The touring Pakistan team in the Caribbean is furious after a report in a British tabloid once again raised suspicions about their recent One-Day International (ODI) series win over the West Indies.

Although no one was willing to speak on record because of instructions from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), a team official said everyone in the team was angry because of the reports.

“This is getting too much. Every time our team starts doing well or wins a series, these baseless reports come up. There is a lobby that wants to demoralize our players,” the official said.

He said the board had told the players to remain focused on their cricket and the T20 International match scheduled for Sunday and they would handle the issue.

British tabloid Daily Mail had claimed in a report that suspicious betting patterns were identified during the five-match ODI series between Pakistan and West Indies, while unusually slow run-rates during certain overs followed by bursts of high scoring had set alarm bells ringing in the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The report stated that “concerns were raised, in particular, around the tied third match of the series played in St Lucia a week ago on Friday, as well as the final game, which resulted in a last-ball win for Pakistan.”

The second ODI, which saw Pakistan fail to score a run off the bat in the first five overs after being set 233 to win, will also be scrutinised by officers of the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), the report said.

According to the report, one betting website reported “unusually large sums of money being wagered between innings on a tied result during the third ODI after the West Indies were set 230 to win from 50 overs.”

Pakistan’s former captain, Rashid Latif, who in 1994 blew the whistle on match-fixing and had also warned the ICC in advance about the menace of spot-fixing, said the Daily Mail report needed to be taken seriously.

“I say this because unless our board takes it seriously these allegations and suspicions about our team will always continue in the foreign media. The board must now act quickly and establish whether the report is just an attempt to demoralize our team and damage our image or has some substance,” Latif told PTI.

“Either way it must not be ignored. If the report is just fiction and an attempt to malign our cricket reputation then it is time the board took the newspaper to court and sought damages as this is the only way to end this campaign against us,” he said.

Latif said the betting patterns mentioned in the report did need to be investigated. He said what he found surprising was that the recent series had no sponsors at all.

Pakistan’s former batsman and coach, Mohsin Khan said he was very upset with the report.

“There is no official comment from the ICC in the report, there is no solid evidence, the entire report is based on imagination and yet it has done the damage and maligned our players, which is so sad,” he said.

Mohsin, who has also worked as chief selector, said that it was ironic that stranger results and happenings were witnessed in the Indian Premier League and in recent international matches involving other teams but it was always the Pakistan team that was targeted in the foreign media.

“I don’t know but surely our board needs to do something about this because such reports indirectly do hurt and affect the players and I say this with experience,” he said.

Former PCB official, Arif Abbasi admitted that the proven involvement of some players in fixing had led to the Pakistan team being an easy target for the tabloid press.

“But there is no doubt this situation is also the result of some inapt handling of things by our board which has been quick to disown players in the past.”

No official of the PCB was willing to comment on the development pointing out they were already other problems facing them because of the restrictions placed by the judgment of the Islamabad High Court.