Saturday, July 17, 1999 Published at 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
World: South Asia
Pakistan cricket board suspended
Pakistan's supporters were left to ponder their World Cup defeat
The president of Pakistan has suspended the entire Pakistan Cricket Board following allegations that the national side deliberately lost last month's World Cup final.
President Mohammad Rafiq Tarrar, who is also patron of the cricket board, replaced the cricket board's management team with a two-member ad hoc committee.
"The team has performed very well except for one bad game. You cannot sack the whole board for it," he said.
"I always defended the players and I am ready to defend them even now. They are wonderful players and a very talented side. None of the matches in the World Cup was fixed. It is ridiculous."
The other member of the committee is Javed Zaman, a cousin of former cricket hero Imran Khan.
The players vehemently deny any wrongdoing.
The heavy defeat triggered widespread protests from Pakistan cricket fans who burned effigies of skipper Wasim Akram and branded the cricketers as "traitors and gamblers".
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - a keen cricket player who bats for a few hours each weekend - indicated that he wanted to find out exactly what happened during the tournament in London.
"Logically, if the top hierachy believes that the match was deliberately thrown, then the players should be the next target," Mr Mehmood said.
"My perception is that the board has been suspended because of match-fixing allegations which are not only unproven but false and baseless.
"I think it will be the main issue in days to come and some of the frontline players might be made scapegoats to justify the sacking of the board," he added.
It is the second time this decade the country's cricket board has been suspended. The first occasion was in January 1994 after a change in governments.
Over the past few years, there have been many inquiries into Pakistani cricket but none has ever produced any firm conclusions about recurrent match fixing allegations.
Many Pakistanis believe that had their team won the World Cup, then the inquiries and investigations currently under way would have been forgotten.
Wasim Akram, along with batsmen Ejaz Ahmed and Salim Malik, were implicated in an interim report by the cricket board into match fixing last September.
The judicial commission headed by Lahore High Court judge, Malik Mohammad Qayyum, is expected to submit its findings by next month.