At least four Pakistan cricketers have been accused of match-fixing and Mazhar Majeed, an agent representing many players, is accused of bribing players.
The scandal has raised questions about the result of Pakistan’s recent Test series against England, which the home team won 3-1, and it casts suspicion on all previous Tests in which those implicated played.
UK police are investigating more than 20 charges against the players and their agent and the cricketers have been ordered to appear before the International Cricket Board (ICB).
The apparent involvement of Pakistan’s captain,Salman Butt, and fast bowlers Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Wahab Riaz brings into question the result of an already controversial Test against Australia in January.
Cricket fans worldwide are wondering whether results were manipulated to enrich big-money betters.
Many international players have urged the ICB to swiftly investigate the allegations and punish the guilty – with lifelong suspension and huge fines – to discourage others from manipulating match results.
It’s particularly sad that players from violence-torn and corruption-plagued Pakistan have been implicated, former Pakistani players say.
‘‘In Pakistan cricket serves as a bond across religious, ethnic and political divides,’’ says Ramiz Raja, former national captain and CEO of the Pakistan Cricket Board.
‘‘The youth desperately want to watch cricket with passion, want the stars to do well but now an entire generation has been left rudderless and hopeless by the acts of its favourite players and sons of Pakistani.’’
Pakistan’s Federal Bureau of Income says it will look at the banking affairs, property and cars of Pakistan players to ascertain whether they acquired anything illegally.
‘‘I think this is a good thing,’’ the team’s associate manager, Shafqat Rana, says. ‘‘It will open things up so the players will be very careful.’’