ICC launches probe against Pakistan amid suspicious betting patterns

LONDON: England's victory over Pakistan in the third one-day international in Sharjah last Tuesday is being investigated for corruption, Daily Mail reported.

Following an erratic performance by Pakistan it is understood that investigators from the ICC's anti-corruption unit have requested data from international betting markets about irregular betting patterns.

England won the match by six wickets after Pakistan collapsed from 132 for two to 208 all out, including three farcical run-outs. They then dropped three catches in the field and missed a stumping.

Officials were tipped off after the toss in Sharjah that the illegal Indian betting market, worth billions of dollars per game, was expecting Pakistan to underperform.

It has also emerged that officers were warned about potential corruption before the series began.

Rumours were rife among bookmakers in the country, and the ICC received intelligence that there could at least be an attempt to manipulate the betting odds in favour of syndicates who would be betting huge sums.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan used his Twitter account to question Pakistan's performance.

He wrote: '3 run outs and a few iffy shots from Pakistan. Never seen that before!!' He followed that with: 'They must all think we are stupid.'

Vaughan, who later deleted the tweets, was criticised by ex-Pakistan batsman Rameez Raja. 'Vaughan's comments are highly irresponsible and I think he is just looking for cheap publicity to stay relevant on social media,' Raja said.

'Pakistan's running has always been bad and we all know Mohammad Hafeez particularly isn't great between the wickets. The team tends to panic whenever it's under pressure and it is nothing new.'

An Anti-Corruption and Security Unit source said: 'After comments like that we couldn't ignore it but we also had other reasons to look into it.'

The chief reason is suspicious betting patterns — one of the key signposts for fixing. The ICC have been told that twice the 'normal' amount of money was wagered on Pakistan to lose in a game which attracted more than £20million in bets on Betfair, the international betting exchange.

The day before the Sharjah match, England were rated as strong favourites to win. Seasoned odds watchers would argue that was an extremely rare event for any England one-day team in Asia, where they traditionally struggle.

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said on Friday night: 'I am aware of these allegations. We may have lost [in Sharjah on Tuesday] but we lost fair and square. I'm satisfied my players have done nothing wrong, and that there is nothing in these allegations.'

Hafeez refuses to play alongside Amir in BPL

CHITTAGONG: Pakistan's batsman Mohammad Hafeez has turned down an offer from Chittagong Vikings to feature in the Bangladesh Premier League since the franchise had also signed tainted young fast bowler Mohammad Amir
“It is not about individuals or any personality clash. It is about the image of Pakistan cricket. I cannot play with any player who has tarnished and brought a bad name to the country,” Hafeez was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

“This is my personal opinion and this is not just about Pakistani players, it's about all players,” the 35-year-old added. 

“I didn't get a direct offer from the BPL team but some agent came up with the offer and I turned it down only because I didn't want to share a dressing room with that player.”

Hafeez reportedly turned down an offer of around 10 million Pakistani rupees as the franchise had already signed on Amir.

The 35-year-old has also made his feelings public about the three tainted players in the spot fixing scandal - Amir, Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif in the past. 

Recently, when the Pakistan team was practicing at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, its former bowling coach Mohammad Akram invited Amir to bowl to Hafeez in the nets but Hafeez flatly refused to face the left-armer because of his tainted past.

Hafeez is also said to be among a group of players in the Pakistan side who are strongly opposed to allowing the tainted trio to play for the national team again in any format. 

The BPL has signed around 16 top players from Pakistan and most of these players will go to Bangladesh straight from Dubai after the T20 series against England.

The top players include Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah.
Amir, the Akmal brothers and Ajmal have all been signed up by Chittagong.

Video: Luke Shaw leg break vs PSV

Manchester United left back Luke Shaw was left with a broken leg after a horrific tackle in the clubs Champions League tie with PSV Eindhoven. Shaw, 20, has been in terrific form this season for the Old Trafford club after an average first season after his big money move from Southampton.

Chris Gayle signs for Pakistan Super League

West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has joined the list of super stars who have agreed to join the Pakistan Super League. Pakistan Cricket Board Executive Committee head Najam Sethi confirmed the news late on Monday. 

Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad who has played with Chris Gayle on numerous occasions in the T20 format also expressed his excitement at the prospect of Gayle joining the Pakistan Super League despite having offers from other leagues.

The PSL is scheduled to be held in Qatar from February 4 next year, and some of the biggest names in cricket have shown interest in the league, and are ready to set the tournament on fire.

Ahmed Shehzad to Marry in September

Flamboyant Pakistan cricket team opener Ahmed Shehzad is all set to get married late in September this year. The details regarding the 23-years old marriage haven't been made public yet. Star all rounder Shahid Afridi who is very close to Shehzad made the revelation that the young opener is getting married later this month.

Former Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Najam Sethi took to microblogging website Twitter to congratulate Ahmed on his soon to be marriage. Shehzad has so far represented Pakistan in 70 ODI's and 11 test.

David De Gea set to sign £200,000-a-week contract

Manchester United's Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea is set to slam the door shut on Real Madrid by signing a new £200,000-a-week contract with the Old Trafford club. 

De Gea believes that United had no role in his failed transfer and is willing to bury his difference with manager Luis van Gaal, the goalkeeper could even start against Liverpool on Saturday. 

United's warming in relations with De Gea and Mendes has been mirrored by a cold war between the Portuguese super agent and Real. Real president Florentino Perez expects De Gea to sign a new deal at Old Trafford and claimed the Spanish giants no longer want him.