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No action taken on Al-Jazeera match-fixing allegations

Many months have passed but no progress has yet been made in the investigation

No action taken on Al-Jazeera match-fixing allegations PHOTO: AFP

Despite many months passing, no progress has been made during the investigation of Al-Jazeera match-fixing allegations.

Last year in May, the Qatar based TV channel Al-Jazeera launched a documentary film on cricket match fixing. The sting operation brought the name of Pakistan cricketer Hasan Raza to the spotlight. He does not feature in the conversation during the video; however his name was mentioned by the bookie in his plan as an example.

According to sources, Raza was present in the team hotel in Rawalpindi during the on-going Pakistan Cup, which is why the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sent a message to all players in the hotel. The message was in Roman Urdu and stated that: “All players and sports staff are informed that cricketer Raza is present in the hotel. No interactions or interviews should be conducted with Raza. This is a direct message from the PCB.”

It should be noted that Raza has not been banned by either the PCB or International Cricket Council (ICC). However the message stopping players from meeting him highlights that a problem exists.

The Qatar based Al-Jazeera channel in October 2018 launched another documentary film in which they claimed evidence of corruption existed against the top players in Pakistan, Australia and England.

According to reports there were 26 incidents of fixing in 15 matches. 3 incidents involved players from Pakistan. In a few matches more than one or in some cases players from both teams allegedly underperformed.

An alleged Indian fixer has pictures with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Umar Akmal. However these cricketers were not found guilty of any wrongdoing.

Al-Jazeera received a recording of an alleged Indian bookmaker who has ties to the underworld. ICC had announced that an investigation would be conducted on the report. However no further progress was made. The interesting thing is that the four matches which were reported, were won by Pakistan.

The first match was a Test match played from January 17 to 19, 2012 in Dubai, where Pakistan was victorious by 10 wickets. Off-spinner Saaed Ajmal took 10 wickets in the match.

The second match, another Test, was from January 25 to 28, 2012 in Abu Dhabi which featured a 72-run Pakistan victory. Slow left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman took 8 while Ajmal took 7 wickets in the match. The second innings featured a dramatic English collapse as they were bundled out for 72.

The third Test match was played from February 3 to 6, 2012 in Dubai. Pakistan was bundled out for 99 in the first innings; however Misbah XI still won the match by 71 runs. In the second innings Azhar Ali and Younis Khan scored centuries while Rehman and Ajmal bagged 7 wickets each.

The fourth match mentioned in the Al-Jazeera documentary was from the ICC T20 World Cup which was played on September 28, 2012 in Colombo. In this match Hafeez XI won in spectacular fashion in 19.4 overs, with two wickets remaining. Fast-bowler Umar Gul scored 32 with the help of three sixes and two fours to change the complexion of the match, while middle-order batsman Umar Akmal remained unbeaten on 43.

When a representative of Daily Express approached the PCB on the matter of the fixing case, the PCB spokesperson said the investigation was on-going and that it is the PCB policy to not comment on cases such as this. They added that according to their information there were no restrictions or bans placed on Raza. 

The PCB representative said that the Al-Jazeera case was being looked at by the ICC and that PCB has not been notified about any developments so far. According to sources the ICC had asked the channel for the unedited video footage which has not been provided, which is why the investigation has not moved forward.