Pakistan must try to level their NatWest International Twenty20 series against England tomorrow, despite still having to contend with a crisis which refuses to go away.
The ’spot-fixing’ controversy lurched through another weekend – thanks to further revelations in the News of the World yesterday, in which Yasir Hameed was quoted, accusing his team-mates of trying to lose matches for apparent financial gain.
Pakistan later lost by five wickets against England at Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium, and will return there tomorrow to try to level the two-match series.
Pakistan’s limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi last night described Hameed as having the mental age of an adolescent.
Afridi claims Hameed – not part of the current limited-overs squad – is an unpredictable character.
“I think he is 30, 31. But mentally he is 15, 16,” he said.
Asked whether Hameed can be unreliable, he added: “Yeah, the people know which type of character he is.”
Hameed played in the final two Tests of this summer’s series against England, which ended at Lord’s.
It was during that match that News of the World claims surfaced – alleging Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were part of a plot to defraud illegal bookmakers by arranging to bowl no-balls to order.
All three have since been charged and suspended, under the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit (ACSU).
A follow-up report in the Sunday tabloid this morning quoted opening batsman Hameed, apparently incensed at his team-mates’ behaviour.
Afridi added: “I don’t know with whom he was sitting or in which situation he gave this message.
“I don’t know, but we have known him for a long time and we can expect anything from him.
“He has been doing these type of things a lot of times.”
Hameed released a statement yesterday, via a spokesman – read out on the steps of the Pakistan High Commission.
In it, he explained the circumstances in which he spoke to a reporter – whom he did not recognise as such at the time, because he was under the impression he was being offered a sponsorship deal rather than asked for an interview.
“Naturally, I was interested in what he had to say – and we began a conversation,” he recalls in the statement.
“He offered me at least £50,000 for the deal.
“As I saw him as a friend and a potential agent, I naively started to answer his questions.
“As far as I recall, I only told him whatever I had already read in the newspapers about the matter.”
Hameed said he later received a mobile phone text from the man, which read: “Please call me. Incidentally you are in video drinking wine and saying all the quotes.
“Denying it is just stupid, and we will be releasing the video to TV. Better that you just stand up and speak the truth.”
The News of the World have also claimed a fourth Pakistan player – unnamed “for legal reasons” – is being investigated by the ACSU.