Pakistan’s cricket chief Sunday rejected allegations of spot-fixing against his country’s national team, saying these were part of a conspiracy now under investigation by his own board.
“The news of corruption is a big conspiracy against Pakistan cricket and we will bring these allegations to the fore with solid evidence,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt told AFP by telephone from Dubai.
Following reports in the British media of two alleged cases of spot-fixing involving Pakistan players on tour in England, Butt said the PCB had “taken it in hand to start our own investigations.
“We will shortly reveal the names of the people, the parties and the bodies involved in this sinister conspiracy and we also reserve the right to sue them for damages,” Butt said.
“We feel the media in certain countries are biased and unfair. We feel august cricket bodies are also involved in this conspiracy, which will damage the great game of cricket.”
In Dubai, Butt met Haroon Lorgat, chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport’s world governing body, which Butt has accused mishandling the allegations against his players.
In the latest case of alleged spot-fixing, the ICC said it will investigate information provided by a British tabloid newspaper of spot-fixing during Pakistan’s one-day international against England at the Oval on Friday.
The ICC said it appeared that a “certain scoring pattern” had emerged during the match, which Pakistan had won by 23 runs.
The Pakistan chief, in an interview to India’s NDTV news channel on Sunday, launched an extraordinary attack on England’s players, saying they may have deliberately lost that match.
“There is loud and clear talk in bookie circle that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose the match,” Butt told the news channel. “No wonder there was total collapse of the English side.”
England, chasing Pakistan’s 241, lost their last five wickets for 17 runs and were bowled out for 218.
The new allegations follow the suspension of three Pakistan players for alleged involvement in spot-fixing during a Test at Lord’s last month, after a report by another British tabloid, the News of the World.
Despite these two alleged instances of spot-fixing, Butt insisted that there was no evidence of corruption against Pakistan’s cricketers.
“Even Scotland Yard has not charged any player and I think in this whole issue the media of some countries has been partial,” Butt said, without naming any country.
“Now the onus is on the ICC to prove these allegations against our players,” said Butt.
Butt has also accused the ICC of not taking the PCB into its confidence over the latest allegations, when, without first informing the PCB, it announced that it would be holding an inquiry into the matter.
“We will raise this issue in the next ICC meeting,” Butt said.
An ICC spokesman said that the council had attempted to contact Butt over the latest allegations, but that he could not be reached.
“The ICC tried to contact Mr Ijaz Butt whole Friday but… we couldn’t contact him. We later found out that Mr Butt’s phone was out of order,” said the ICC spokesman.
“On Saturday morning (after the ICC media release had gone out), we came to know that Mr Butt was in Dubai and later in the day, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat met him and discussed matters of mutual interest.
“I cannot discuss the details of the meeting but I can confirm that at no stage Mr Butt indicated to the ICC chief executive that he’ll take any legal action or write a letter to the ICC.”
Butt, who took over as PCB chief executive in October 2008, has been under pressure from Pakistan’s parliamentarians and senators to step down over the controversy but said he had no intention of doing so.
“I can talk in detail over my responsibility in this matter but I will not resign,” he said.