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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Afridi, Waqar doubt Pakistan players: report

KARACHI — Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi, coach Waqar Younis and security manager Khawaja Najam raised serious doubts about three suspended players to the game's governing body, a report said Tuesday.
Dawn newspaper published excerpts of statements given to the International Cricket Council (ICC) over Pakistan's spot-fixing controversy during its recent England tour that saw Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer suspended.
The statements appear to confirm the three players were in contact with alleged fixer Mazhar Majeed and are likely to impact their case as scheduled to be heard by an ICC tribunal in Doha from January 6-11.
No Pakistani Cricket Board official was reachable for comment Tuesday.
The ICC suspended Butt, Asif and Aamer after British newspaper News of the World claimed several Pakistani players took money to obey orders from Majeed during the team's Lord's Test against England in August.
Scotland Yard raided the Pakistan team's hotel in London and questioned the trio as well as a fourth player Wahab Riaz, who was not suspended.
"During the Scotland Yard search of the players? rooms at the team hotel, two police officers found cash in a bag and a small suitcase which they seized. Most of the cash was in the suitcase," Dawn quoted Najam as saying.
"I asked the police officers to put on record the amount of money they had confiscated and they did so immediately.
"I have retained that note and attached a copy of it which reads as follows: Room No. 714 - 24,300 UAE Dirhams, 29,787 pound sterling, 12,617 US dollars, 10 Australian dollars, 26,015 Pakistani rupees, 350 Canadian dollars and 440 South African rand," said Najam.
Butt, who led Pakistan in the Tests on the England tour after Afridi suddenly retired following the first match, was reportedly staying in room 714.
"While we were there, the police officers asked Salman why he had so much cash in his room and Salman stated: ?It?s for my two sisters, they are getting married, it?s for their dowry?."
Najam further added: "I offered them support and told them to cooperate with the police. From Mohammad Aamer?s room, a Tag Heuer mobile phone and possibly other mobile phones, 5,000 pounds in cash, a few hundred US dollars and a white envelope with 2,500 pounds was recovered."
The security manager, who resigned earlier this month, further claims that he had watched Majeed mingle with Pakistani players since the World Twenty20 in the West Indies.
Dawn quoted Afridi as saying that he "thought" that the three suspended players looked guilty during the police raid on the hotel.
"They told me that they had done nothing wrong, to which I replied: ?If you have done nothing wrong, there is no need to feel guilty.?
"I did not speak to them again after that about the allegations. I was subsequently told by team management that the Metropolitan Police had found 20,000 pounds in Salman?s room in different currencies."
Coach Waqar said a no-ball bowled by Aamer during the Lord's Test surprised him "greatly".
"This was because Aamer?s front foot stepped over the line by a great distance whereas usually, if anything, Aamer tends to bowl from well behind the front footline.
"I was so surprised by the delivery that when we went back into the dressing room at the end of that morning session I said to Aamer in Punjabi, ?What the hell was that??.
"But before Aamer had the chance to answer my question, Salman interrupted from across the dressing room, saying: ?I told him to do it because the batsman was coming on the front foot. I told him to come forward and bowl him a bouncer?."
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