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Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Thursday, 2 September 2010 18:47 UK

Pakistan cricket corruption scandal takes new twist

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High Commissioner: 'Video could have been filmed after the no balls'

Police investigating alleged corruption involving Pakistani cricketers believe that video evidence crucial to the case is authentic, BBC Sport understands.

Pakistan's High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan claims News of the World video allegedly exposing the scandal may have been made after the incident.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir are currently being investigated by the police for alleged spot-fixing.

But police and cricket's governing body are treating the evidence as genuine.

The BBC also understands that the questions being posed by Hasan over the nature of the video evidence, after the Pakistan high commissioner had emerged from a Pakistan Cricket Board inquiry on Thursday, will not form part of the three cricketers' defence.

In response to Hasan's latest comments, the News of the World said it "refuses to respond to such ludicrous allegations".

HOW THE STORY HAS UNFOLDED
Aug 28: Newspaper reports accuse some Pakistan players of cheating during Lord's Test against England; A man, 35, arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers; Police take statements from four players: Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif & Kamran Akmal
Aug 29: Pakistan suffer largest ever Test defeat; Mazhar Majeed confirmed as arrested man
Aug 30: Pakistan players travel to Taunton for Thursday's one-day game against Somerset
Aug 31: ICC confirms Akmal no longer part of the investigation; HMRC confirms three arrests in connection with betting allegations
Sep 1: Butt, Amir and Asif head to London for investigation
Sep 2: Pakistan team manager confirms Butt, Amir and Asif will play no further part in England tour; Pakistan high commissioner says he believes the players are innocent, and casts doubt over authenticity of video evidence

Asif and Amir are alleged to have bowled three no-balls on purpose at pre-determined times to facilitate betting coups after a "middle-man" was reported to have accepted £150,000 in cash from an undercover reporter from the News of the World.

The newspaper published the claims last Sunday, days after the incidents were alleged to have taken place on the Thursday and Friday of the fourth Test at Lord's.

The cricketers Hasan referred to will now miss the rest of their country's tour of England , but the International Cricket Council has agreed to not to speak to them until the Metropolitan Police give permission.

Earlier on Thursday, Hasan insisted the players were "innocent".

"The players have voluntarily offered not to be included [in the tour]," he said. "They want to clear their names first."

Later Hasan emerged from the PCB inquiry in London to tell the BBC that the News of the World videotape of its meeting with cricket agent Mazhar Majeed could be inconclusive.

"You [the media] are jumping to conclusions, because no-balls are not taped like that," he said.

"We have not seen the videos. What the time [was when they were taken], what the date [was]... whether they were taken before or after the match. Do you have answers to the questions?"

When asked if the video could be fake, he replied: "You must know better because you are the media people."

Hours later Hasan told BBC Radio 5 live that "they [the players] are being brow-beaten for nothing by the media and they should be defended".

Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed was keen to stress that the players in question had been left out and "not suspended" on Thursday, adding that they were all "extremely disturbed" by what has happened since the allegations were made on Sunday.

"They maintain that on account of the mental torture which has deeply affected them, they are not in the right frame of mind to play the remaining matches," he said.

'Spot-fix three' will miss rest of tour - Saeed

The trio were originally questioned by police - along with wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal - at the team's hotel on Sunday, since when police said Akmal is no longer part of that investigation.

After it was announced that Butt, Amir and Asif will play no further part in England tour, England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke said that the decision was welcomed.



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Pakistan trio keen to see row end
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England want Pakistan player ban
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Aussies 'approached' by bookmaker
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Pakistan face calls for life bans
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Pakistani anger at another cricket scandal
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England finish off tarnished Test
29 Aug 10 |  England
Pakistan in England 2010
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Live cricket on the BBC
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