Wednesday, April 9, 2008

ACSU questions three Pakistan players

Cricinfo staff

The International Cricket Council has confirmed that its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) carried out interviews with three Pakistan players, Danish Kaneria, Younis Khan and Umar Gul.

The interviews took place in Lahore over April 5 and 6. The ICC said the purpose of these interviews was to seek specific information and that the ACSU was provided the required details by the players.

A report in the News, quoting unspecifed sources, said the interviews were related to a function the three players may have attended while touring India in November-December 2007 and the identity of one of the other guests. Naghmi said the board could not confirm whether that was the case, though a source close to one of the players suggested to Cricinfo this was the case. An ICC spokesperson confirmed to Cricinfo that the questioning was not connected to Shoaib Akhtar's recent claims and that it was in relation to "a separate issue".

The confirmation does clear up considerable confusion over the purpose of the ACSU's visit to Pakistan. Though the visit was widely reported, its purpose was thought to be to question Shoaib and specifically comments he had made last week when he told a local news channel he had been offered money to underperform while touring India and South Africa.

The Pakistan board said they had been informed prior to the visit and insisted the purpose of the visit was only to share information. "The ICC itself says there has been no alleged breach of the code of conduct," Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer PCB, told Cricinfo.

"It was just an information-sharing exercise. They called us before and told us 'We're not raising any red flags, we're not accusing anyone. We just want to share some information with them and get some information from them,'" Naghmi said.

"A briefcase full of money was placed before me and I was asked to under-bowl in a match at Johannesburg but I refused," Shoaib told Geo TV. "Then on tour to India I was offered money but I again turned it down." The ICC said subsequently the claims would be investigated.

The visit has already had an indirect effect on the team. Cricinfo has learnt that Younis was upset about the questioning, particularly that he hadn't been warned of it beforehand. He then threatened to pull out of the first ODI against Bangladesh, though he was eventually convinced to take part by the board chairman and selectors. Shoaib Malik, during his post-match press conference, however, denied these claims

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