30 Aug 2010

Man at centre of alleged cricket betting scam bailed

9:41 pm on 30 August 2010

The man at the centre of cricket betting scam allegations concerning the Pakistan team has been released without charge on police bail.

Cricket agent Mazhar Majeed, 35, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.

Wider corruption has also been hinted at, and it is reported more than 80 recent matches involving the Pakistan team will now be investigated.

The News of the World claimed it paid Mr Majeed £150,000 for advance details of when three no-balls would be played in the latest Test at Lord's in London, which England won by an innings and 225 runs to take the series 3-1 at the weekend.

Police have also questioned several Pakistan players over the alleged scam, the BBC reports.

Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Pakistan captain Salman Butt had their mobile phones taken away by detectives. The players and their team-mate, wicket keeper Kamran Akmal, were interviewed by police.

The allegations relate to three no-balls delivered by Amir and Asif on Thursday and Friday. A no-ball occurs when a bowler oversteps the line behind which balls should be delivered.

Scotland Yard said Mr Majeed was bailed to appear before police at a future date. The International Cricket Council is also investigating.

Meanwhile, the ABC reports Mr Majeed also boasted on camera that his match-fixing record had netted gamblers at least $A1.4 million from the second Test in Sydney in January.

At the time, Pakistani coaches raised doubts about wicket keeper Kamran Akmal, who dropped four catches and missed an easy runout.

Tour of England to continue

Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed said further international matches against England would go ahead as planned.

Pakistan is scheduled to play two Twenty20 matches and five one-day internationals against England starting in Cardiff on 5 September, the BBC reports.

Mr Saeed said the accusations were serious, but that was all they were at this stage and denied that cricket in Pakistan is riven by corruption.

NZ Cricket awaits outcome of inquiries

New Zealand Cricket says it will wait for the outcome of police inquiries and the International Cricket Council investigation before it makes any comment.

Pakistan is scheduled to play a series of matches in New Zealand this summer, starting with a Twenty-20 game in Auckland on 26 December.

New Zealand Cricket says it expects the ICC will do everything it can to ensure the allegations, and any resulting action, is sorted out as soon as possible.

NZ Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan says it is not appropriate to be commenting on the matter or how it affects Pakistan's tour of New Zealand at this stage.