Strauss outraged by fixing claims

Source: BBC News | 20/09/2010

England captain Andrew Strauss has dismissed suggestions they deliberately lost last Friday’s third one-day match against Pakistan in return for money. Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ijaz Butt told Indian TV some players were paid to lose, but later claimed his comments had been taken out of context.

Strauss said, "We are deeply concerned and disappointed that our integrityStrauss has been brought into question. We refute these allegations and will explore all legal options open to us." Strauss admitted that the England team had mixed feelings over whether to play Monday afternoon’s fourth one-day game against the tourists at Lord’s, but decided they had a responsibility to themselves and their supporters. "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 England and Wales Cricket Board. "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 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.

England batting coach Graham Gooch dismissed speculation about the team’s performance at The Oval. "I think it’s 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.

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