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Angry England cricketers reject 'fixing' claims

By the CNN Wire Staff
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PCB head stands by his statement
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The English team "deplores and rejects" the allegation by the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board
  • PCB head Ijaz Butt said a match last week was "fixed by English players"
  • He produced no proof
  • International cricket authorities are investigating two scandals involving Pakistani players

(CNN) -- England's national cricket team "deplores and rejects unreservedly" allegations by Pakistan's top cricket official that English players took money from gamblers to fix the results of a match last week, it said Monday.

The English team was responding to accusations by Ijaz Butt, the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

"We were informed by bookies that the third one-day cricket match between Pakistan and England was fixed by English players," Butt told CNN Monday.

He did not produce any proof.

Pakistan level series at Lord's

England captain Andrew Strauss expressed his team's "surprise, dismay and outrage at the comments made by Mr. Butt," in a statement on the official website of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The team is investigating legal options, he said.

The third one-day cricket match between Pakistan and England was fixed by English players.
--Ijaz Butt
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Butt's comments escalate a controversy that has been raging for a month, since a British newspaper alleged that three Pakistani players took money to commit specific "fouls" at pre-determined times during a match against England in London.

English cricket legend Ian Botham said Monday that Pakistan should be banned from international cricket.

And the International Cricket Council, the sport's governing body, needs to "get off its backside" and deal with allegations of corruption in the sport, he said on Sky Sport.

The tabloid News of the World reported that Pakistan players deliberately bowled no balls, during a game in late August, and that the alleged ringleader of the scam made £150,000 (about $230,000).

London's Metropolitan Police have questioned four players over the allegations.

They passed their evidence in that case Friday to prosecutors, who will decide whether to press charges.

Should tabloids be cricket's judge and jury ?

The International Cricket Council provisionally suspended three of the players questioned by police and charged them with various offenses under the council's anti-corruption code.

The ICC then launched a second investigation into claims of a new betting scandal involving the Pakistan national team, it said Saturday.

The allegations, which emerged Saturday in the British tabloid The Sun, relate to the third one-day International between England and Pakistan, held in London on Friday.

"A source informed The Sun newspaper that a certain scoring pattern would emerge during certain stages of the match and, broadly speaking, that information appeared to be correct," ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.

"We therefore feel it is incumbent upon us to launch a full enquiry into this particular game, although it is worth pointing out at this stage that we are not stating as fact that anything untoward has occurred," Lorgat said.

The Sun reported "illegal bookies in India and Dubai apparently knew in advance what would happen" during the game so they could make bets.

The paper -- part of the same media group as The News of the World -- said its undercover team was able to pass details to ICC inspectors before the match began at the Oval cricket ground in south London.

"Cricket chiefs then watched as Pakistan's score mirrored the target that bookies had been told in advance by a fixer," The Sun reported.

It is not thought the overall result was fixed -- only scoring rates in parts of Pakistan's innings, the paper said.

It said the investigation centers on a person "within the team camp" who is believed to be the ringleader, taking money from bookies and making sure their orders are carried out.