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Page last updated at 22:26 GMT, Monday, 20 September 2010 23:26 UK

England captain Andrew Strauss outraged by fixing claim


England considering legal action - Strauss

England captain Andrew Strauss has dismissed claims his team deliberately lost last Friday's third one-day match against Pakistan in return for money.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt told Indian TV he had heard some bookmakers saying some England players were paid to lose the game at The Oval.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it would seek legal advice.

"We refute these allegations," Strauss said before England were beaten by Pakistan in the one-dayer at Lord's.

"We are disappointed that our integrity has been brought into question."

Pakistan beat England by 38 runs in the fourth one-dayer to set up a series decider on Wednesday at the Rose Bowl.

But the England skipper admitted before the game that his team had mixed feelings on whether to take to the field.

"Under the circumstances, we have strong misgivings about continuing to play the last two games of the current series and urge the Pakistani team and management to distance themselves from Mr Butt's allegations," he said in a statement released by the ECB.

"We do, however, recognise our responsibilities to the game of cricket - and in particular to the cricket-loving public in this country - and will therefore endeavour to fulfil these fixtures to the best of our ability."

The International Cricket Council is looking into Pakistan's performance in Friday's third one-dayer at The Oval. The tourists won the match by 23 runs but the ICC announced it was investigating the match after receiving reports about "scoring patterns" during their innings.

England needed 242 to win the game but lost their last five wickets for 17 runs and Butt responded to the ICC statement by claiming there was a "conspiracy to defraud Pakistan and Pakistan cricket".

On Monday morning, Butt was reported to have told India's NDTV channel: "There is loud and clear talk in bookie circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose. No wonder there was total collapse of the English side."

However, speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Butt later claimed he was only stating what he had heard and that he had no proof that England's players had thrown the game at The Oval.

"The bookies have been talking about it and we will investigate the matter and come up with whatever proof we can provide," he said.

"The total statement I made [to NDTV] categorically explained that the bookies are saying this. I am not saying this."

Butt was asked in the NDTV interview whether the PCB had any proof of the allegations regarding English players.

He replied: "Did you ask the other people who made allegations against our players whether they had any proof? What did they say? We have thought about this properly and we have positive proofs here before us just like they say they have also."

ECB chief executive David Collier told the BBC's Test Match Special it was seeking advice about possible legal action following Butt's allegations.

"There are strong laws of defamation. Clearly, these sorts of issues need to be looked at," said Collier.

"You have to look at the option. You can't impugn someone's integrity without having proper evidence."

England batting coach Graham Gooch also dismissed speculation about the team's performance at The Oval, telling BBC Radio 5 live: "The English cricket team go out to win every match in their quest to become the best team in the world and I don't see anything different every time they prepare and play a game.

"I think [the allegations] are completely without foundation."

The entire tour has been blighted by allegations that Pakistan players were involved in spot-fixing and deliberately bowled no-balls during the Lord's Test in August.

This led to a police investigation and ICC charges against Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - who have all now returned to Pakistan and are not involved in the one-day series. Fast bowler Wahab Riaz has also been interviewed about the matter.

The Pakistan board, meanwhile, is conducting its own investigations.

"We feel august cricket bodies are... involved in this conspiracy, which will damage the great game of cricket," said Butt.

"We have taken it in hand to start our own investigations. We will protest with the ICC for not taking the PCB into confidence on the issue of the spot-fixing scandal. We will take up this matter in the meeting of International Cricket Council on 11 October."

The ICC said its chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, had discussed "matters of mutual interest" with Butt on Saturday.

An ICC spokesman said: "I cannot discuss the details of the meeting but I can confirm that at no stage Mr Butt indicated to the ICC chief executive that he'll take any legal action or write a letter to the ICC."

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see also
Pakistan level tainted ODI series
20 Sep 10 |  England
England add Bell to one-day squad
19 Sep 10 |  England
ODI series devalued, says Flower
18 Sep 10 |  England
Players need guidance - Graeme Smith
20 Sep 10 |  Cricket
ICC to probe third one-day match
18 Sep 10 |  Pakistan
Pakistan snatch win over England
17 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Spot-fixing scandal: the key figures
01 Sep 10 |  England

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