Cricket: Afridi blasts Hameed in Pakistan corruption row

CARDIFF, Julian Guyer- Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi blasted Yasir Hameed as being mentally a teenager as 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 in the first of two Twenty20 fixtures against England at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
Britain's biggest-selling newspaper News of the World -- which broke the corruption story engulfing Pakistan's tour of England -- 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."
The 32-year-old also said he had been approached by shadowy figures and offered bribes but refused -- and was subsequently dropped from the side for two years.
Following the T20 defeat in the Welsh capital, Afridi said what he thought of Hameed.
"Mentally he is 15, 16. I don't know with who he was sitting or in which situation he gave this message," 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.
"He offered me at least 50,000 pounds (77,000 dollars, 60,000 euros) for the deal," which involved having an airline logo on his bat, plus television and billboard advertisements in the United Arab Emirates.
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.
The batsman said he later received a text from the man, which read: "Pls call me. Incidentally you are in video drinking wine and saying all the quotes attributed to you. Denying it is just stupid as we will be releasing the video to TV. Better that you stand up and speak the truth!!!!"
He said he decided not to respond and went to the PCB.
News of the World claimed a fourth Pakistan cricketer was being investigated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) over alleged fixing.
They repeated on Sunday claims they 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.
The paper said that up to 15,000 pounds of the cash it allegedly handed to Majeed was found in Butt's London hotel room. Butt's lawyer denied any wrongdoing, saying it would not be unusual for his agent to give him money.
On Saturday, Afridi apologised for the scandal.
"On behalf of these boys -- I know they are not in this series -- I want to say sorry to all cricket lovers and all the cricketing nations," he said.
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.
Pakistan were well-received by a crowd of just under 11,000 at Sophia Gardens, with the only jeers coming as a result of misfields.

Sunday, September 5th 2010
Julian Guyer

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