PAKISTAN CRICKET TEAM ROCKED BY FRESH FIXING CLAIMS
A fourth Pakistan cricketer is being investigated by cricket's governing body, claims the News of the World.
Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir are already the subject of police and International Cricket Council (ICC) investigations over a betting scandal.
The paper says the ICC is investigating an unnamed fourth man over match-fixing claims – a more serious charge than the spot-fixing claims faced by the trio.
But the cricketing body said it did not comment on ongoing investigations.
A spokesman said: “We are making no comment regarding the suggestion that the ICC is probing a fourth player.
“We do not comment on ongoing investigations, we will not revealing any details about the charges [faced by Butt, Asif and Amir],” added the ICC spokesman after the News of the World reported that the three men were facing a total of 23 charges.
The Metropolitan Police said it is not investigating a fourth player, while the Pakistan Cricket Board was not immediately available for comment ahead of Sunday's first Twenty20 international between England and Pakistan in Cardiff.
Test skipper Butt and fast bowlers Asif and Amir have been suspended and charged by the ICC.
In a separate development, the BBC understands that wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal has been contacted in writing by the ICC, though there is no suggestion that he is the fourth player and it is not in relation to incidents in the recent fourth Test at Lord's.
During that match, Asif and Amir are alleged to have bowled three no-balls between them at pre-determined times to facilitate betting coups after “middle-man” Mazhar Majeed was reported to have accepted £150,000 from an undercover reporter from the News of the World, http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/news/924349/Cricket-in-the-dock-as-we-expose-match-fixing-scandal-England-Pakistan-Test.html who published the story on 28 August.
BBC Sport understands that serial numbers on bank notes seized by the police from the cricketers' hotel rooms tally with those recorded by the tabloid http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11190583 given to Majeed.
In its latest revelations, http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/news/943390/Get-more-cricket-match-fixing-revelations-in-the-News-of-the-World.html the News of the World also claimed that batsmen Yasir Hameed spoke to the newspaper about other Pakistani cricketers' involvement in match-fixing.
However, Hameed denied speaking to the tabloid, although the News of the World has since published a video interview with the Pakistan batsman.
Former Pakistan batsman Younis Ahmed insists greed could be the only possible motivation for any of his country's stars to become involved in corruption.
He told BBC Radio 5 live: “I can tell you they are paid handsomely and they are all living well. They all drive four-by-fours, they have got their homes and they have invested money – they are not short of money, believe me.
“Some of them are getting a bit greedy to make a quick buck.”
Younis said the reports had been greeted with anger in Pakistan, which has been ravaged in recent weeks by floods that have claimed many lives.
“Pakistanis are totally furious and very disappointed by what they have read in the papers and the way this is being reported in the media,” he added.
“All the floods that Pakistan had – 16 million people without their homes, belongings, their livestock destroyed and their livelihoods at stake – this was the last thing they were expecting.”
Meanwhile, Croydon Athletic – the football club co-owned by Majeed, has announced that manager Tim O'Shea and his Assistant Neil Smith have left with immediate effect.