The ghost of match-fixing returned to the world of cricket today with Scotland Yard arresting an alleged fixer after a British tabloid revealed sordid details about corruption in the Pakistan cricket team currently facing defeat in the Lord's Test.
'The News of the World' tabloid splashed details of a sting operation it conducted on one London-based individual, Mazhar Majeed.
The tabloid said it gave 150,000 pounds to him after he promised to arrange for Pakistan bowlers to bowl no balls during a match.
Majeed, 35, was arrested late last night after the tabloid handed over details of its sting operation to Scotland Yard.
The two Pakistan cricketers who allegedly bowled no balls under directions from Majeed were Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Asif.
Both bowlers delivered three no balls in the ongoing Test against England on Thursday and Friday at the historic Lord's.
The two bowlers delivered the no balls 'at precisely the moments promised to our reporter', the tabloid said.
"Our undercover team was posing as front men for a Far East gambling cartel. In return for their suitcase of money Majeed then calmly detailed what would happen - and when - on the field of play next day, as a taster of all the lucrative information he could supply in future," it reported.
Majeed reportedly said: "I'm going to give you three no-balls to prove to you firstly that this is what's happening. They've all been organised, okay? This is 'exactly' what's going to happen; you're going to 'see' these three things happen. I'm telling you, if you play this right you're going to make a lot of money, believe me!"
Majeed identified Pakistan captain Salman Butt as the 'ringleader of the band of cheats'. He also reportedly named wicket keeper Kamran Akmal and boasted that he had a total of seven corrupt cricketers in his pocket, the report said.
Majeed is identified as a property tycoon with a house in Surrey worth 1.8 million pounds.
The tabloid reporter's meetings with Majeed were held in the Bombay Brasserie Indian restaurant here, and Majeed reportedly went on to allege an Indian connection as well.
He is quoted as saying: "I deal with an Indian party. They pay me for the information."
Yawar Saeed, Pakistan's manager said his team members spoke to the police at their hotel.
He said he was shocked by the allegations, as were the team members to whom he had spoken.