Cricket series’ fate hangs in balance

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London: England players reported to be unwilling to play against four Pakistan cricketers.

The fate of the rest of the Pakistan-England cricket series hung in the balance on August 30 after England cricketers were reported to be reluctant to play against the four Pakistani players accused of match-fixing. England captain Andrew Strauss has called for a life-time ban on anyone involved in the alleged scam.

The Pakistani players were booed and tomatoes, were pelted on the coach carrying them as fans vent their anger. Some shouted chor (thieves) and “shame, shame’’ amid calls for the accused cricketers — Captain Salman Butt, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and star bowlers Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif – to be suspended. One Pakistani protester said: “They should be taken back home and hanged.’’

All four are at the center of a police investigation and were questioned for several hours by Scotland Yard detectives on August 28, following allegations that they were involved in rigging last week’s Test match at the Lord’s with Aamir and Asif deliberately bowling three no-balls after being allegedly paid to do so.

Their mobile phones were seized by the police and there were unconfirmed reports of “large quantities  of bank notes’’ being found in the rooms of several Pakistani players.

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