Record Test defeat for Pakistan overshadowed by corruption arrest as players questioned.
Police have been questioning members of the Pakistani team [AFP]
British police say they have arrested a man on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers following reports of match-fixing in a cricket match between England and Pakistan.
Police questioned members of the Pakistani team late on Saturday over allegations by the News of the World newspaper that some members of the team were involved in cheating in the fourth and final test at Lord’s before the final day on Sunday.
“Following information received from the News of the World we have arrested a 35-year-old-man on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers,” a spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police told AFP news agency.
Police said on Sunday that the man had been bailed without charge, obliging him to appear before police at a future date.
In Pakistan, Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, displayed his shock at the accusations, stating: “I have been pained. Our heads are down with shame. I will order the minister of sport to hold an inquiry.”
News of the World, the UK’s biggest-selling newspaper, said it has secretly filmed footage that proves Pakistani players took money to deliberately make mistakes during the match.
It alleged that two Pakistani bowlers, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif, delivered three no-balls to order.
The newspaper said an undercover reporter posing as a front man for a betting syndicate gave $230,000 to a middle man, who correctly told the reporter precisely when the deliveries would be bowled.
The newspaper published a photograph of the alleged middle man, Mazhar Majeed, counting wads of banknotes.
It also published dialogue from the encounter and a picture of what it said was one of the promised no-balls on Friday.
“We are 100 per cent this is an attack and conspiracy against Pakistani cricket.”
Syed Adil Gilani, Transparency International
Local television in Pakistan reported that Scotland Yard detectives had recovered large sums of money from Pakistani players’ hotel rooms and seized mobile phones.
PJ Mir, a former Pakistani cricketer, was with the players on Saturday evening. He told Al Jazeera that three rooms, including those of Aamer and Asif, had been searched.
“When the police went in, they told the boys to relax because it was a routine search,” he said.
“Two lap tops, mobile telephones, and of course there was some money, their daily allowances, which runs into 15 to 45 pounds, were taken by the police.”
Reports have also emerged that the Pakistan team manager had contacted Syed Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s high commissioner in London, who was in touch with Scotland Yard.
But Syed Adil Gilani, the chairman of the Pakistani branch of Transparency International, described the allegations as a “conspiracy”.
“We are 100 per cent this is an attack and conspiracy against Pakistani cricket,” he told Al Jazeera.
“This should be investigated by the ICC [International Cricket Council] and the culprit should be brought to justice. If at all any Pakistani is involved, he also should be taken to task.
“But according to our assessment this is a conspiracy against Pakistani cricket.”
Play began as scheduled on the fourth day of the fourth and final Test on Sunday.
England easily won the fourth and final test against Pakistan by an innings and 225 runs at Lord’s on Sunday.
That gave them a 3-1 win in their last series before they are to defend the Ashes in Australia in November.