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Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
More questions than answers
Wasim Akram
Wasim Akram: Still under a cloud
BBC News Online's Thrasy Petropoulos considers the implications of the Pakistan match-fixing report, and wonders whether the whole truth will ever come to light.

When the Lahore dust finally settles on Salim Malik's fall from grace, more questions are likely to have been raised than answered.

Were it not for Hansie Cronje's cry for help last month in admitting to having taken cash from an Indian bookie, the Qayyum report into match-fixing and bribery might still have been buried by bureaucracy in a Pakistani government office.

As it was, the threats that Pakistan would be suspended from international cricket if they did not comply with the subsequent frenzied investigation into all things related to bribery forced it into the open.

This warning prompted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to promise to make the findings available to cricket's international governing body.
Salim Malik
Salim Malik: Singled out

In fact the report, which was started two years ago, had been available in what was believed to be its final draft since October last year.

But the PCB is unique in that it is not an autonomous body. The board's patron is the president of the country who had to be consulted before any findings were made public.

No sooner had the report been handed over than the government was overthrown.

Not surprisingly the new regime, headed by Chief Executive General Musharraf, had other matters to resolve before occupying its time with corruption in cricket.

Not that there was an absence of suggestion and innuendo into what the 149-page report contained - or at least 149 pages when it was finally published.

Confused messages

So much so that for some time there were confused messages about whether Wasim Akram, among others, was going to receive a recommended life ban.

About Salim Malik the rumours were only ever of one verdict - that he was not going to escape the most severe punishment permissible.

Though he is free to resume his international career, whether Wasim chooses to is now questionable.

By being fined - and therefore implicated - the burden of suspicion weighs heavily on his shoulders.

Many have said that Wasim would in fact have received a recommended life ban had Ata-ur-Rehman, the 25-year-old seam bowler who toured England in 1992 and 1996, not perjured himself by offering contradictory evidence.

The report is frustratingly vague in fining current playing members of the Pakistan team, thereby suggesting an involvement.

And although it does not go so far as to state exactly what that involvement was, it is more comprehensive than many had predicted.

With the change in government, and three changes in administration in the PCB since it was originally completed, many had feared much would be swept under the carpet and not a single player named.
Tauriq Zia
Tauriq Zia: Caused confusion

Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum has been assiduous in interviewing more than 70 players, officials, book makers and journalists.

But his voice, though the most authoritative, is just one in the affair.

Before the report was made available Qayyum was interviewed over tea at his Lahore home by Lt-Gen Tauriq Zia, the PCB chairman, who asked under what law he was acting.

Tauriq Zia later confused journalists by stating categorically that no Pakistani player currently touring the Caribbean had been implicated.

Justice Qayyum was immediate in his comments that this was not the case.

Salim and Ata-ur-Rehman's plight might have been sealed, but there could be more, much more, in the most comprehensive report into match-fixing ever held.

What we are privy to, however, is another matter.

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See also:

25 May 00 | Cricket
'Fixing' sanctions could increase
24 May 00 | Cricket
Malik guilty of match-fixing
25 May 00 | Cricket
Salim Malik: Tarnished talent
25 May 00 | Cricket
Justice Qayyum's report
12 Apr 00 | Cricket
A gentleman's game?
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