Yasir Hameed leaves the Pakistan high commission following allegations in the News of the World that he has accused his team-mates of fixing “almost every match”.
Pakistan’s batsman Yasir Hameed, who reportedly accused his team-mates of fixing “almost every match”, claimed today that he was only repeating allegations he read in the newspapers.
Hameed said he was approached by a man he believed was offering him a sponsorship deal and did not know the conversation was being recorded.
In a statement read out on the steps of the Pakistan high commission in London, Taffazul Rizul, from the Pakistan Cricket Board’s legal team, claimed Hameed was approached by a man when he was having dinner at the Holiday Inn in Nottingham on the evening of 30 August. It was only later that Hameed discovered the man was the News of the World’s “fake sheikh” Mazher Mahmood.
“Naturally, I was interested in what he had to say and we began a conversation,” the statement on behalf of Hameed said. “He offered me at least £50,000 for the deal.”
The 32-year-old said he was asked for the names of four more players who may be interested in a similar deal and then asked about the match-fixing allegations.
“As I saw him as a friend and a potential agent I naively started to answer his questions,” said the player. “As far as I recall, I only told him whatever I had already read in the newspapers about the matter.”
Hameed said the man called two days later and offered him £25,000 to give a statement against Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, the three Pakistan players currently under investigation for spot-fixing. He refused and put the phone down.
He then received a text from the man, which read: “Please call me. Incidentally you are in video drinking wine and saying all the quotes. Denying it is just stupid and we will be releasing the video to TV. Better that you just stand up and speak the truth.” Hameed decided not to respond and allegedly told the Pakistan Cricket Board about what had happened.
Rizul did not respond to questions over whether Hameed would take legal action over the reports.
Butt, Asif and Amir have been suspended following last weekend’s allegations in the News of the World and are the subject of police and International Cricket Council investigations. All three deny any wrongdoing.
The newspaper reported Hameed, who played in the fourth Test at Lord’s, as saying: “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. It makes me angry because I’m playing my best and they are trying to lose.”
The Pakistan team manager, Yawar Saeed, told reporters yesterday that Hameed had denied such statements.
The new allegations follow an apology on behalf of the three players from the Pakistan Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi prior to his team’s defeat to England yesterday. Afridi confirmed that the businessman at the heart of the allegations, Mazhar Majeed, and his brother Azhar, were managing the trio involved.
Speaking at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff, Afridi said: “On behalf of these boys – I know they’re not in this series – I want to say sorry to all cricket lovers and all the cricketing nations.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has charged the trio of players under their anti-corruption code and provisionally banned them from playing in any match.
Majeed has also been arrested and released on bail without charge. He is accused of accepting £150,000 to arrange for Pakistan players to deliberately bowl no-balls during the fourth Test at Lord’s.