Cricket: Pakistan says fixing claims in series against the Windies are "outrageous"

KARACHI (AFP) - Pakistan's cricket chief on Monday termed fixing allegations over the team's one-day series against the West Indies as "outrageous", adding that his board had insisted on a full investigation by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

British newspaper The Mail on Sunday had reported the series was under investigation by the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) of world cricket's governing body with experts identifying suspicious betting patterns.

"Concerns have been raised, in particular, around the tied third match of the series played in St Lucia a week ago on Friday, as well as the final game, which resulted in a last-ball win for Pakistan on Thursday," the paper reported.

The West Indies, chasing 230, tied the third match after needing 24 in the last two overs with the last pair of Kemar Roach and Jason Holder at the crease.

The probe will also look at betting patterns in the final game, in which the West Indies scored just one run from the first 18 balls, according to the report.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) interim chairman Najam Sethi hit out at the allegations.

"These are outrageous claims and we have been in touch with the ICC and insist on an investigation," Sethi told Pakistan's Geo TV.

"I can't talk much on this but we did contact the team manager and he told us that a couple of days ago, the newspaper people were phoning people to get the information.

"The manager confirmed that the ICC's ACSU team was there in the Caribbean.

"How much truth is there in this, only time will tell but at the moment, this is not more than a story by The Mail."

A board spokesman added: "The PCB is obviously extremely concerned at the allegations of fixing reported in the media with regard to the recently concluded one-day series between Pakistan and the West Indies."

Pakistan won the one-day series 3-1 before clinching the two-match Twenty20 series 2-0 on Sunday.

Pakistan has been badly hit by match-fixing scandals in the past, with three of its top players - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer - serving bans in a spot-fixing case that surfaced on the team's tour of England in 2010.

Pakistan had to ban former captain Salim Malik and paceman Ata-ur Rehman in 2000 after a two-year judicial inquiry conducted by Lahore High Court judge Malik Mohammad Qayyum.

The inquiry also fined six other players, including former captains Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Inzamam-ul Haq.

The bans came after the Australian trio of Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh alleged Malik offered them bribes to under-perform on the team's tour to Pakistan in 1994.

An ICC spokesman told AFP it does not comment on any ACSU activities.

Sethi said the PCB has taken noted quotes from an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) official in the newspaper report.

The ECB's information manager Chris Watts told The Mail the events in the Pakistan-West Indies series warranted investigation.

"If I was presented with this level of information, I would want this series investigated," Watts, who is responsible for fighting corruption in domestic cricket in England, was quoted in the report.

"There are some classic signs (of wrongdoing)."

"We have written (protested) to the ICC as to how an ECB official gave comments on the report and what right he had to say that," Sethi protested.

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