Friday, February 26, 2010
By Khalid Hussain
KARACHI: Pakistan’s wicket-keeper batsman Kamran could currently be under investigation for suspected match-fixing, well-placed sources told ‘The News’ on Thursday.
According to the sources, Kamran was axed from the Pakistan squad for the two Twenty20 Internationals against England in Dubai because there are suspicions that he might have deliberately dropped catches during the second Test in Sydney against Australia last month. If he fails to prove his innocence, Kamran may be overlooked for the ICC World Twenty20 Championship in the Caribbean where Pakistan will be looking to defend their title this May, said the source.
The 28-year-old was dropped from the third and final match of the series in Hobart for the first time in 42 Tests and five years but later returned for the limited-overs games against the Aussies. He smashed a 33-ball 64 in the tour-ending Twenty20 International at the Melbourne Cricket Ground but was still dropped from the touring party for the Dubai matches.
Officially, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that Kamran was overlooked for the brief Dubai visit because of his poor showing in Australia as well as his statements after the Sydney Test in which he insisted he will play in Hobart in spite of the fact the PCB had rushed young glovesman Sarfaraz Ahmed to Australia for the final Test.
However, according to the source, the main reason why Kamran was left out of the Dubai series was because he is under investigation for suspected match-fixing.
“Otherwise how can you leave out a player who had scored 64 from 33 balls against Australia in his last match,” said the source. “He (Kamran) is a suspect.”
Kamran, who was Pakistan’s vice-captain in the Test series against Australia, came under intense fire for his pathetic showing behind the stumps in the Sydney Test which Pakistan lost by 36 runs. He dropped Mike Hussey three times in that Test allowing the veteran batter to score a match-winning hundred. The fumbling keeper also floored Peter Siddle besides wasting a run-out opportunity against Shane Watson and was later singled out as the biggest villain behind Pakistan’s defeat from a seemingly-winning position.
The menace of match-fixing is nothing new for Pakistan cricket.
Last October, National Assembly’s sports committee chief Jamshed Dast accused the Pakistan team of deliberately losing to Australia to knock old rivals India out of the Champions Trophy in South Africa. However, the committee later cleared the team of any wrongdoings.
Back in 2000, former Pakistan captain Salim Malik and medium pacer Ata-ur Rehman were found guilty of match-fixing by Justice Malik Qayyum. They were both banned for life following a year long investigation into the allegations.
The inquiry was launched in response to charges of betting and match-fixing against several of Pakistan’s top cricketers, including former captains Wasim and Malik, spinners Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed, Rehman and batsman Ijaz Ahmed.
The inquiry investigated several allegations of corruption dating back to 1994, including one made by Australian cricketers Shane Warne and Mark Waugh. The Australian players accused Malik of offering them bribes to perform poorly during an Australian tour of Pakistan.
In recent times, there have been calls from various quarters for the implementation of the recommendations made by Justice Qayyum to eradicate the menace of match-fixing from Pakistan cricket.
“Match-fixing is still the root cause of the problems faced by our cricket,” Senator Enver Baig told this correspondent. “It has to be tackled seriously otherwise there is no hope for Pakistan cricket,” added Baig, a former member of the Senate’s sports committee.