Raza won't umpire till cleared: PCB

Chennai celebrates a wicket against Pune. Akram Raza was found taking bets on the IPL Matches from a plaza in Gulberg AFP

Lahore: May 18, 2011

Former Pakistan off-spinner-turned umpire Akram Raza will not be considered to officiate any domestic matches until he was cleared of the illegal betting case that amounted to his arrest, a PCB official said here on Tuesday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman, Nadeem Sarwar also clarified that the board will not hold any inquiry into the matter until the case against Raza in the Lahore court was over.

Raza, a former off-break bowler who played nine Tests and 49 One-day Internationals for Pakistan, was arrested on Saturday with six others after a police raid on a plaza in Gulberg area for running a betting racket.

Police said they had busted a gang of bookmakers who were taking illegal bets on the ongoing Indian Premier League matches.

Raza, who is now a first-class umpire, got bail from a court yesterday but will have to appear in court next week in connection with the case.

Sarwar said since the case was already with competent authorities the PCB would not initiate any inquiry.

“We will let the law take its own course and wait for the competent authorities to take a decision,” he said.

“But until a decision is taken by competent authorities, it is unlikely that Raza will be considered for any umpiring duties,” Sarwar added.

Earlier, Sultan Rana, who heads the domestic cricket department in the PCB, had said that the Raza incident warranted an inquiry and the board would like to hear out both the parties.

However, Raza pleaded innocence and said he would fight his case.

“I will prove my innocence because I don’t want my umpiring career derailed now. I have already gone through enough in the past as well and I will fight my case through my lawyer,” he said.

Raza said that he was called to the plaza by a friend and then the police raided the place.

“I really don’t know why I have been trapped in this case but I have nothing to do with any betting racket on the IPL matches. I will also be writing to the Pakistan Cricket Board to inform them of my innocence,” he said.

The off-spinner was one of six players fined by the Justice Malik Qayyum judicial commission after a match-fixing inquiry against Pakistani players between 1998 and 2000.