Spot fixing: ICC”s ACU to question Pak batsman Yasir Hameed

London, Sept.6 (ANI): The International Cricket Council”s (ICC) Anti-Corruption Unit is likely to interview Pakistani batsman Yasir Hameed as part of its match-fixing investigation, even as his team mates have questioned his reliability as a witness on Sunday.

According to The Telegraph, ACU detectives will be free to talk to Hameed as he is not part of the criminal investigation being carried out by Scotland Yard, and it is likely, he will be asked to explain alleged comments made on film to an undercover reporter at the weekend during which he stated Pakistan were “fixing almost every match”.

Hameed’s comments have added to the pressure around the Pakistan squad who are potentially facing the prospect of another player being charged by the ICC this week.

It was revealed on Sunday that a fourth Pakistani cricketer was being investigated for match-fixing.

“We want to be prompt and decisive on this matter. It is not something we want to drag our heels on and as soon as we are in a position to make charges and disclosures we will do so,” the paper quoted ,” said Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive of the ICC, as saying.

Hameed’s nickname within the Pakistan team is ‘Bacha’, which means child in Urdu, and his naivety in talking with such openness to a complete stranger just days after the story of spot-fixing during the Lord’s Test broke is startling.

“He (Hameed) is 30-31 but mentally he is 15-16,” said Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan one-day captain.

“I don’t know who he was sitting with or in what situation he gave this message, but we have know him for a long time. We know we can expect anything from him and he does this kind of thing. People know what type of character he is,” Afridi added.

Hameed, who played in the third and fourth Tests, but is not in the one-day squad, was summoned to the Pakistan High Commission in London on Sunday for a meeting with Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Hameed later issued an affidavit through the High Commission claiming his comments to the News of the World were simply a repeat of the allegations made against Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir, and Mohammad Asif that had already been reported by the media.

He claims he was duped into talking to the newspaper’s investigative journalist, Mazher Mahmood, believing him to be a sponsor offering a 50,000 pound deal with the airline Etihad.

Hameed is shown on the hidden camera speaking casually about the case against the Pakistan team but goes further claiming he lost his place in the team because he refused to become involved in match-fixing.

It is an offence under the ICC’s code of conduct for a player not to report a suspicious approach which would give the ACU enough reason to interview Hameed. (ANI)

Stephanie Rice apologizes over homophobic tweet

Sydney, Sept 6 (ANI): World record swimmer Stephanie Rice has apologized following her homophobic tweet over the Wallabies’ victory over South Africa.

After the Wallabies” last-gasp win over South Africa on Saturday night, Rice tweeted: ””Suck on that faggots!””

The comment attracted criticism from gay actor and former Australian rugby league star Ian Roberts, who labelled Rice a “complete idiot”.

“She is an idiot … and anyone who continues to endorse her as an athlete is an idiot as well,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.

“And I say that with a very sad tone in my voice. What a fool,” he added.

However, the queen of the pool, who recently withdrew from next month”s Commonwealth Games with a shoulder injury, has since apologized and deleted the posting.

Rice is reportedly dating Wallabies five-eighth Quade Cooper. (ANI)

Crowe raises spot fixing doubts on New Zealand-Pakistan series

Wellington, Sep 6 (ANI): New Zealand cricket team may have been exposed to “spot-fixing” long before the alleged betting and corruption scandal of the England-Pakistan series were revealed, according to Black Caps legend Martin Crowe.

Crowe is doubtful about New Zealand’s second Test against Pakistan in Wellington in December 2009. The Black Caps scored 99 and 263 and lost by 142 runs to Pakistan, who levelled the series 1-1 after losing the first Test in Dunedin.

“I was asked if I had ever been suspicious about a match. I replied: ‘Often’,” New Zealand Herald quoted Crowe, as saying.

“I remember that one in particular. There was a multitude of catches going down. I have never seen a worse fielding side in my whole life, and that includes club cricket.

“I remember in particular [New Zealand batsman] Peter Fulton chipping one to mid-on, where [Pakistani captain at the time] Mohammad Yousuf dropped it. It was an absolute sitter, a dolly,” he said.

In all, there were five dropped catches, a missed run-out and one ball, at an easily catchable height, that eluded fieldsmen who should have caught it.

“Pakistan won that match comfortably, so I am not trying to say that it was match fixing. But it does make you think about spot-fixing,” said Crowe.

“I have never had a bet in my life, so someone had to explain it to me in terms of how it works. They have things called ‘brackets’ [defined periods of play during a match] where punters can bet on all manner of things, which might or might not happen in that period of play,” he said.

“That’s what makes me think something could have been up in that test. It was the most pathetic display of catching I had ever seen. We talked about it [the fielding ability] on air [Crowe was commentator for SKY TV] at the time.”

The issue came to light after News Of The World sting showed that Pakistani cricketers collaborated with match fixers to deliberately produce no-balls at agreed times, allowing bettors to place wagers in the knowledge they could not lose.

Fast bowlers Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, and Test skipper Salman Butt have been implicated but have maintained innocence, despite evidence against them. The ICC banned the three Pakistani players until the matter is resolved.

The ICC is also investigating 11 New Zealand-Pakistan matches, with the Wellington test certain to be among them. (ANI)

Yasir Hameed is about 30 or 31, but mentally is 15 or 16: Afridi

London, Sep 6 (ANI): Pakistan ODI and Twenty20 skipper Shahid Afridi has said that Yasir Hameed has the mind of a teenager despite being 30-31 years of age, after the opener allegedly told an undercover journalist that his teammates were corrupt and had constantly fixed games.

News of The World reported that Hameed had “sensationally confirmed” its report last week that some Pakistan players had accepted money to fix aspects of the fourth Test match against England in London.

These allegations led to Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif being charged by the International Cricket Council for corruption. Police also questioned them.

The tabloid said Hameed had told one of its reporters in a bar in Nottingham, central England, that some Pakistan players were fixing “almost every match”.

But Afridi, who has taken over the captaincy from accused Butt, tried to water down Hameed’s allegations.

“Yasir Hameed is about 30 or 31 – but mentally he is 15 or 16. People know the type of character he is. We have known him for a long time and we know what to expect from him,” The Sun quoted Afridi, as saying.

“He has done this sort of thing many times. Is he unreliable? Well, he is sitting with someone he does not know and gives these messages out, so, yes,” he said.

Afridi admitted that his players were relieved to take to the field again for Sunday’s Twenty20 international against England in Cardiff, even though they lost by five-wicket.

Afridi said: “It was a relief to be playing again. Even though it was not a perfect performance. All the allegations are history now and until the ICC completes their investigations and it is all before us, we don”t want to talk about it.” (ANI)

More ‘rotten eggs’ in Pak cricket, says Mohammad Zahid

Islamabad, Sep 6(ANI): Former Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Zahid feels that there are more corrupt Pakistani players who need to be investigated by the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).

“There are more rotten eggs in the Pakistani set-up, and those rotten eggs need to be fully investigated by the cricketing authorities,” quoted Zahid, as saying.

“At this moment three players are involved in the spot fixing controversy and another player is being investigated, but I think there are others, as yet un-named,” he added.

Zahid who is currently playing league cricket in England, also said that he was not surprised by the three names that have come out, and insisted that the ICC needs to set a precedent to ensure that their punishment becomes a lesson for young players.

“I wasn’t surprised when the three names came out. Salman Butt was a decent guy. I trained with him quite a lot in his early days. I was very impressed with his attitude, but it seems that perhaps he has been mixing with the wrong crowd if the allegations are to be believed,” he said.

“The players want to make quick and big money. I think they will have instigated any dealings with a bookie. I don’t think the ICC should be at all lenient with the players, irrespective of age and experience. If any of the players have been involved in this wrongdoing, then they should get a life ban,” he added.

He further claimed that match fixing has been going on in the game for a very long time.

“It’s not just been a Pakistani problem, but an international one, and the authorities should really have looked into the problem a lot earlier,” Zahid said.

“Spot fixing is a more recent invention after match fixing became more difficult to instigate, but I think that match fixing was prevalent in Pakistani cricket circles more so in the 90s,” he added. (ANI)

UT football schedule 2010: UT football schedule of 2010

Date Place Time/Result
09/04/10 Tennessee Martin 6:00 p.m. | pay-per-view
09/11/10 Oregon 7:00 p.m. | ESPN2
09/18/10 Florida 3:30 p.m. | CBS
09/25/10 UAB TBA
10/02/10 at LSU 3:30 p.m. | CBS
10/09/10 at Georgia TBA
10/23/10 Alabama TBA
10/30/10 at South Carolina TBA
11/06/10 at Memphis 8:00 p.m. | CBS College Sports
11/13/10 Mississippi TBA
11/20/10 at Vanderbilt TBA
11/27/10 Kentucky TBA
12/04/10 SEC Championship (ATL) TBA

Lampard warns critics to brand Chelsea as ‘pensioners’ at their own risk

London, Sep 4 (ANI): Midfielder Frank Lampard has said that they are no pensioners, hitting back at critics who question the ageing Chelsea squad.

Chelsea relies heavily on experienced players like Lampard, 32, defender John Terry, 29, and striker Didier Drogba, 32.

Lampard said that such experience is necessary, and added that Chelsea will once again prove people wrong.

“It is a load of rubbish when I hear talk about there only being one or two years left in our spine. This has been going on for a year or so,” The Sun quoted him, as saying.

“Sometimes that is mind games from other managers or press talk – and we proved them wrong last season. We have players who are experienced – and you can’t buy experience in football,” Lampard said.

Lampard, who missed England’s European championship qualifier against Bulgaria due to a hernia problem, said he is as hungry for success as ever.

“Every year I set my goals again. I don’t lose any ambition or drive. I would love to win the Champions League one day but I would love to win more Premier League titles as well – so it’s easy to self-motivate,” he said.

“The older you get, the more you appreciate what you have got as a footballer. If I can keep my level up to the way I am playing now, I believe I can go on playing for many more years,” Lampard added. (ANI)

Ehsan Mani slams PCB, Pak High Commission’s role in ‘spot-fixing’ scandal

Islamabad, Sep 4(ANI): Former International Cricket Council (ICC) President Ehsan Mani has slammed the Pakistan Cricket Board for its handling of the ‘spot-fixing’ scandal.

Mani said that the PCB had done nothing except talk about playing those players until proven guilty.

“If the allegations are proven, the whole thing is totally unacceptable. Everyone involved in cricket, especially the ICC and PCB, have always said they adopt a no-tolerance policy to this kind of thing,” The Dawn quoted Mani, as saying.

“”But what has been disappointing is that the PCB has not taken the lead in this case since the whole issue broke. Since it happened, the players would not have been in a fit state of mind to play a cricket match. The PCB has lost the moral ground on this one,” he added.

The former ICC chief further said that the PCB lacks professionalism.

“They have failed to educate the players and failed to monitor the movement of people following the players who they knew about and who they had warned the players not to have contact with. Only warning the players is not good enough,” Mani added.

He also opposed Pakistan High Commission’s involvement in what he deems is a cricket matter.

“It is not right that the government should be involved in this. We cannot talk about the players at this stage, but the PCB has not come out very well in this. They should have been taking a lead role,” Mani said. (ANI)

ICC withdraws Asif and Amir’s names from annual awards list

Karachi, Sep 4(ANI): The International Cricket Council (ICC) has withdrawn the names of suspended Pakistan fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir from its annual awards list.

“The pair’s nominations have been withdrawn and the jury has been informed,” The Dawn quoted an ICC spokesman, as saying.

Asif was nominated for Test player of the year, while Amir was nominated in the emerging player of the year category.

The awards ceremony will be held in Bangalore on Monday.

Both the players, along with captain Salman Butt, have been accused by a British tabloid of intentionally bowling ‘no-balls’ during the fourth Test against England at Lord’s.

The ICC had earlier said that the trio had been provisionally suspended pending a decision on the charges.

“In accordance with the provisions of the code, this means they are immediately barred from participating in all cricket and related activities until the case has been concluded,” the ICC had said in a statement. (ANI)

Pak call up Shafiq, Irfan to replace suspended trio for England ODI series

London, Sep 4(ANI): The Pakistan team has replaced ‘spot-fixing’ accused trio with batsman Asad Shafiq and fast bowler Mohammad Irfan for the five- match ODI series against England, to be played from September 10-22.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has provisionally suspended captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir over the charges leveled against them.

“We’ve decided to just include two players and have a squad of 15 rather than 16,” The News quoted Shahid Afridi, Pakistan’s one-day captain, as saying.

Afridi is confident that the new additions will adapt to the conditions quickly like opener Shahzaib Hasan and all-rounder Fawad Alam, who sparkled in Pakistan’s practice match against Somerset on Thursday.

“Shahzaib and Fawad played brilliantly. They’ve helped us to refocus and regroup and now we are looking forward to the upcoming matches with renewed confidence,” Afridi said.

He also insisted that batsman Umar Akmal and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq will be fit for Sunday’s Twenty20 match at Cardiff.

Akmal was hit on the face by a ball, while Razzaq has been suffering a back problem.

“There was nothing serious about their injuries. Both Razzaq and Umar Akmal are perfectly alright and are looking forward to playing in Cardiff,” Afridi said. (ANI)

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