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Thursday, December 10, 1998 Published at 12:59 GMT

Sport: Cricket

Cricket scandal 'undermines allegations'

Mark Waugh (left) and Shane Warne (right) face the media

The head of Pakistan's Cricket Board has called for an international inquiry into the scandal surrounding two Australian players fined for unethical conduct.

Khalid Mahmood said the scandal seriously undermined allegations by the two Australians - Mark Waugh and Shane Warne - that former Pakistani captain Salim Malik had offered them bribes.

The accusations of attempted bribery led to a judicial inquiry, which is due to present its report next week.

Neil Bennett: There is a cloud of suspicion hovering over the game of cricket
The Australian Cricket Board secretly fined Waugh and Warne three years ago for accepting money from an Indian bookmaker during Australia's tour of Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 1994. The incident only became public earlier this week.

Defamation suit

Malik has said he plans to sue Warne and Waugh for defamation of character. The two Australian stars and their former teammate Tim May alleged that Malik offered them bribes during Australia's 1994 tour of Pakistan.

Jonathon Agnew: This is a terrible embarrassment for the Australians
"They have really upset me and spoiled my cricket for the last two years. They were taking money from the bookmakers. I will definitely sue them in court," said Malik in Lahore.

Pakistani Judge Malik Mohammad Qayyum, who has heard evidence from more than 40 witnesses on the bribery allegations against Malik, has said he will send a detailed report to President Mohammad Rafiq Tarar next week.

Australian outrage

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said his country is intensely disappointed about the scandal.

Scathing commentaries in Australian newspapers also reflected national outrage over the incident.

The Australian newspaper said in a front-page editorial: "The Australian Cricket Board is guilty of hypocrisy in its attitude to cricket's gambling problem. The board has pressed for an inquiry into allegations of match-fixing in Pakistan, while engaging in a concerted cover-up of its own betting scandal."


Mark Waugh: I have given my best for my country
Warne and Waugh told a packed media conference in Adelaide on Wednesday that they had not been involved in match-fixing or bribery.

ACB Chief Executive Mal Speed said he did not know why Australian cricket officials did not make the incident public in 1994.

Mal Speed: Australian cricket's reputation has been damaged
"It had been investigated immediately and the players had freely admitted their involvement, they were fined, they paid their fine and the International Cricket Council was told about the incident," Speed said.

Former Australian captain Neil Harvey called for the pair to be banned for two years, saying: "I never ever thought I would see an Australian cricketer slump to these depths."

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