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Afridi blasts Hameed in Pakistan corruption row

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Update: 2010-09-05 18:55:39
Afridi blasts Hameed in Pakistan corruption row

CARDIF: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi blasted Yasir Hameed as being mentally a teenager but the batsman insisted he was duped by a newspaper over betting scam claims which eclipsed the team`s defeat to England.

One-day skipper Afridi tore into Test batsman Hameed, who claimed he had done nothing more than repeat the allegations of "spot-fixing" being faced by three Pakistan players.

The row overshadowed Pakistan`s first international game since the scandal rocking the sport first erupted.

They were beaten by five wickets Sunday in the first of two Twenty20 fixtures against England at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

Afridi said he was trying to lift his side`s spirits ahead of Tuesday`s second T20, and vowed to play his part in cleaning up Pakistan`s reputation.

"We all know we`ve got to get to the bottom of this and we`ll do anything as players, or management, commentators, umpires to eradicate this from the game. It`s as simple as that," he said.

Britain`s biggest-selling newspaper News of the World released footage of Hameed in a bar telling an undercover reporter that some Pakistan players were fixing "almost every match".

"They’ve been caught. Only the ones that get caught are branded crooks. They were doing it (fixing) in almost every match. God knows what they were up to. Scotland Yard was after them for ages," he was quoted as saying.

"It makes me angry because I’m playing my best and they are trying to lose."

Following the T20 defeat in the Welsh capital, Afridi said what he thought of 32-year-old Hameed.

"Mentally he is 15, 16," he said.

"We have known him for a long time and we can expect anything from him. He has been doing these type of things a lot of times."

Asked if Hameed was unreliable, he replied: "Yeah, the people know which type of character he is."

Hameed released an affidavit, read by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)`s lawyer outside the country`s High Commission (embassy) in London.

The batsman said he believed he had been talking to a potential sponsor -- who turned out to be an undercover reporter.

Hameed said he was asked about the corruption allegations.

"As far as I recall, I only told him whatever I had already read in the newspapers about the matter."

He said two days later the man telephoned and offered 25,000 pounds to give a statement against the three players under investigation: Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif.

Hameed said he refused and put the phone down.

News of the World claims it paid Mazhar Majeed, an agent for several Pakistan players, 150,000 pounds (185,000 euros, 230,000 dollars) for advance knowledge of no-balls in last month`s final Test against England, which could then be bet upon.

That prompted the ICC to charge Butt, rising star Aamer and Asif, and suspend them pending a decision on the allegations. They were interviewed under caution for a second time by British police Friday.

Former England captain Geoff Boycott said it was no surprise that Pakistan were repeatedly implicated in corruption scandals, as the cricket authorities had never clamped down hard enough on past cases.

The no-nonsense Yorkshireman urged the authorities to offer teenager Aamer a plea bargain.

"Tell the truth about what took place and he can get off with a lighter sentence. If he won`t play ball, then make an example of him," he wrote in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"I feel for Aamer, because any 18-year-old is likely to get dragged along by his seniors. But I still believe that he deserves a lengthy ban -- seven years, perhaps -- if he is shown to have bowled no-balls to order.

"As for the others, they should be treated even more harshly, because they have no excuse."

In Sunday`s match, England, set a seemingly modest 127 for victory, collapsed to 62 for five.

But left-handers Eoin Morgan (38 not out) and man-of-the-match Michael Yardy (35 not out) saw England to 129 for five with an unbroken partnership of 67 as they won with 17 balls to spare.

It was England`s first match in the format since they beat Australia in the World Twenty20 final in Barbados in May.

BDST: 1343HRS, September 6, 2010

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