The chief executive of cricket’s ruling body has promised “prompt and decisive action” against anyone found cheating after four Pakistan players were accused of match-fixing by the News of the World.
Haroon Lorgat, head of the International Cricket Council (ICC), said he hoped there would be “some sort of a conclusion” to the hastily-established investigation into claims of corruption during last week’s England versus Pakistan Test at Lord’s by this weekend.
News of the World investigations editor and undercover specialist Mazher Mahmood led the investigation which alleged on Sunday that bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif had apparently bowled no-balls to order as part of a betting scam.
The man at the centre of the scandal, alleged match-fixer Mazher Majeed, is currently out on police bail after being arrested on Saturday. Four Pakistan players have given statements to police.
News of the World investigators filmed Majeed accepting £150,000 in cash on Wednesday night after predicting when no-balls would be bowled in the following day’s test match.
Journalists pretended to be the front-men for a Far East gambling cartel.
Majeed told them: “I’m going to give you three no-balls to prove to you firstly that this is what’s happening. They’ve all been organised, okay?
“This is exactly what’s going to happen, you’re going to see these three things happen. I’m telling you, if you play this right you’re going to make a lot of money, believe me!”
Journalists initially met Majeed on 16 August pretending that they wanted to organise their own Twenty20 cricket tournament in the Middle East. They then won his trust over successive meetings.
The latest scoop for the NoW follows a similar sport betting scoop in May when it videoed snooker player John Higgins apparently agreeing to lose frames in exchange for £261,000.
The ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) is now investigating the latest claims.
Lorgat said: “The integrity of the game is of paramount importance. Prompt and decisive action will be taken against those who seek to harm it.
“Make no mistake – once the process is complete, if any players are found to be guilty, the ICC will ensure that the appropriate punishment is handed out.
“We will not tolerate corruption in this great game.”
Pakistan are due to play England in a Twenty20 game on Sunday and Lorgat told BBC Radio Five Live “hopefully before the weekend arrives we can get to some sort of a conclusion”.