Cricket world shocked at Test 'betting scam'

Man reading a newspaper outside Lords cricket ground
Image caption Play resumed on Sunday, with England bowling out Pakistan to win by an innings and 225 runs

The revelations that a man has been arrested in connection with an alleged cricket betting scam centred on the current Test between Pakistan and England at Lord's has shocked the cricketing world.

Police said a 35-year-old man was being held on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers after the News of the World claimed it gave £150,000 to a middleman who provided details about three "no-balls" which later occurred when predicted.

Here, people from the sport give their reactions.

England cricket captain Andrew Strauss

Speaking after England's victory on Sunday morning, he said: "I don't think anyone wants to finish a Test series in this scenario.

"It has taken the gloss off the series win which is very disappointing because we had some outstanding performances.

"It's been a hard fought series and it's nice to win it but not in these circumstances."

He added: "Clearly with a lot of these match-fixing allegations, it is so hard to prove things categorically one way or another - which is one of the real difficulties.

"But if someone is found categorically guilty of doing it, the only way for me is for you not to be able to play international cricket again."

Shahed Sadullah, former English editor of Pakistani newspaper The Daily Jang

"It has caused a great deal of frustration and anger in Pakistan.

"Already there was a great deal of that with the floods as so many people thought that the response by the authorities to the flood was considerably short of being adequate, but I think this has added to it tremendously.

"When Pakistan won the test at the Oval, the captain said this was supposed to be for the people affected by the floods and I think that went down well - there was something to smile about.

"That's now gone completely and I think people will be extremely dejected at this."

Mr Sadullah said the concern was whether this would rob Pakistan of some of the international sympathy which it had been receiving after the floods.

He then went on to say he did not think this was a Pakistan-specific problem.

"I am sure that approaches are being made [to players on other teams] because I cannot believe that the global organisations that are doing this - and they are huge cartels - that they only come into business when Pakistan is playing, and when Pakistan is not playing they close up shop and go home.

"Yes the present focus is on Pakistan, but I think the problem has a much broader dimension."

Former England batsman Allan Lamb

"If any player is caught, they've got to be life banned.

"Cricket has to go on, it can't just stop - we've got to get rid of the people involved, life ban them, and the game has to go on.

"The big thing is I don't think the no-balls affected the game, England have fairly and squarely got into the position to beat Pakistan."

He said the allegations should not diminish the achievement of England's Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad, who combined for a world-record eighth-wicket stand of 332 in the first innings.

"I think they've played very good cricket and got back into the game with a magnificent partnership.

"[But] it's taken all the efforts by England and it's under a dark cloud. People will say, 'That record-breaking partnership, it can't really count because were the bowlers trying?'"

Former Pakistan spinner and ex-chief selector Iqbal Qasim

"As far as I know, players have been accused of fancy fixing, to bowl no-balls so they all must be investigated seriously and then strict action must be taken against those who are proved guilty.

"It is a matter of Pakistan first, then comes the department they work for, so once they are proven guilty then action should be first taken against them for staining the image of the country and then comes the department they work for."

Former England player Phil Tufnell

"Everything's sort of been brought into question. I don't see how they can really come out and play a game, where you don't know what's unfolding in front of your eyes."

Shehryar Khan, former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board

"I have been deeply shocked by what we have been told.

"I feel it is a very disturbing element not only for the cricketers but for the whole country, which is so deeply involved in cricket."

Former England pace bowler Angus Fraser

"I was clapping Stuart Broad for achieving that wonderful hundred and the applause round the ground really was a special moment.

"It made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and to feel it's surrounded by this, your emotions feel cheated."

The nature of the game left it open to such manipulation, he added.

"Cricket's a sport with so many incidents in the day, it's easy to try to control little things in the day's play.

"A simple no-ball doesn't sound a lot but is it the tip of the iceberg? That's what you worry about.

"They've (cricket officials) tinkered around edges on this subject for quite some time but I think now they've got to get down and nail people hard if they are found to have been involved in this sort of thing."

Former betting website owner Mark Davies

"The real question is: where does the corruption lie?

"It can only lie in the black markets where it can't be tracked, and in the sport, because in order to be able to rig something, any micro part of the match, you have to be involved.

"You and I cannot do anything to rig any part of a match, without some kind of collusion from a player."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan

Writing on social networking website Twitter, Vaughan said: "Anger is my thought at the moment.

"It's just a great shame why this has to happen. Very sad."

Sports author and journalist Mihir Bose

"This raises the question of how do you police it in countries like Pakistan, where betting as such is illegal.

"What could be a very normal activity - I go out to the High Street and place a bet - that in Pakistan is impossible to do. So a whole industry is put to the margins."

He added: "We need to hear from the cricket authorities. What is the ICC going to do - and the ICC's power, despite what it says, is rather limited - and we need to know what the Pakistani authorities are going to do.

"Are they going to have a full-scale inquiry, stating exactly what the relationship is between bookmakers and the cricketers?

"Unless we have that, we can't be sure that cricket has been cleaned up."

Graham Sharp, from bookmakers William Hill

Graham Sharp said betting on events that did not affect the final result of the game, as in the News of the World allegations, was unusual in the UK.

"We'd be hugely suspicious of somebody wanting to bet in that manner," he said.

"There are times when we would bet on the outcome of a particular ball maybe. If you've got a bowler who's taken a couple of wickets in a previous over and is on a hat trick, you might speculate on what'll happen.

"But, by and large, bookmakers are aware that they have a certain responsibility for trying to avoid markets which could be exploited. And so we go out of our way not to bet on specific balls where possible."

BBC Radio 5 live cricket commentator Pat Murphy

"There are so many contests within the individual contest of cricket that there is scope for skullduggery.

"The phrase, 'It's just not cricket,' was passe a long, long time ago. Pakistan cricket and inconsistency and rumours and controversy have not been strange bedfellows in the last 10-15 years. That's well documented."

But he added that until the investigation had been concluded, it was important not to jump to conclusions.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain

"If (the allegations) were to be proven, a part of me says, 'Good, about time,' because there have been allegations out there for a long time.

"Maybe it's about time something was done, if there were substantial proof then maybe it's about time, let's get on with cleaning the game up."

Former England captain Alec Stewart

"It's a very, very sad day yet again for cricket. Match-fixing, or spot-fixing, has reared its ugly head again and it's something the game doesn't want.

"I played in a game at Centurion Pak [in 1999] when [South Africa] captain Hansie Cronje was proved to have fixed that game and also my name was dragged into it. Thankfully I was cleared of any wrongdoing.

"Again, with these Pakistan players, we have to assume they are innocent until proven guilty.

"I thought it had gone out of the game but it's something that has to be addressed very, very quickly."

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