The spot-fixing scandal took an unexpected turn on Sunday with attention diverted from the three suspended Pakistan players to one of their teammates. Yasir Hameed, an attacking top-order batsman, was the subject of a second
hidden-camera operation and though he is accused of no wrongdoing, News of the World (NOTW) claims he confirmed their allegations against Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif.
The day also saw allegations against two more players — one Pakistani, one Sri Lankan — while Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi had this to say of the tainted trio: “I don’t think they should be part of the team or dressing room. Keeping them out is in our best interest.”
There was speculation the fourth Pakistani might be wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, with the International Cricket Council reportedly writing to him.
A careful viewing of the NOTW video, however, casts doubts on whether Hameed was offering an opinion or repeating what he’d read in the media.
Hameed has since clarified that he didn't cast aspersions but merely agreed to what was told to him by the reporter, posing as an airline representative offering a sponsorship deal.
"I have never spoken to News Of The World and I haven’t said anything like this. I was only talking about what I’d heard from the original NOTW reports,” he said.
He was also quoted as saying by PTI: “NOTW called up my brother and offered him money and a British passport to not deny this story.”
In the video, Hameed talks about the fixing scandal, the Sydney Test and an earlier occasion when he reportedly turned down a £100,000 offer from a bookie. Of his teammates, he says: “They were doing it (fixing) in almost every match. Scotland Yard was after them for ages.”
On the Sydney match, he claims: “They made £1.8 million; they gave away the match. I don’t know how the money was divided.”
Hameed calls tainted Test skipper Salman Butt a “nice guy” but isn’t so nice about Asif: “He just built an Italian-style house in Lahore. You go there and you think you are in Italy, that’s how good his house is.”
Hameed, who was part of the Test squad, was on Sunday summoned to the Pakistan High Commission in London where he met High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan and Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ijaz Butt. He could also be in trouble with the ICC, whose anti-corruption code requires players to come forward with reports of any suspicious contact.