Cricket Matches are Scripted like Movies, Says Latif

Melbourne, Sep 11 (IANS): Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif, a match-fixing whistleblower, said that not only Pakistani cricketers but players from all Test nations were involved in spot-fixing, and claimed that some matches are scripted "like movies".

Latif, who played 37 Tests and 166 one-day internationals at one stage, announced his retirement in protest over match-fixing suspicions on the 1994 tour of Zimbabwe.

And with three Pakistani crickters -- skipper Salman Butt, and pacers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif -- accused of being involved in a spot-fixing scandal, Latif says the sport faces a major fight to get rid of the evil of fixing.

"It is widely believed that only Pakistani players are involved in this practice (spot-fixing), but I have seen it all very closely and I can easily say that players from every country do it," Latif was quoted as saying by The Age newspaper.

"There are clever ways to manipulate the game and maximise profits if players are involved. For example, some cricket matches have been scripted, like movies or plays, where it is decided that so many runs are to be scored in the first session of a Test, or how many in a certain over, and so on," he said.

Latif, who testified against disgraced former Pakistan captain Salim Malik in the 1998 Qayyum Commission investigation, said the greater awareness of spot-fixing in recent years had cast doubt on several matches.

The former wicketkeeper also raised suspicions in a Test about two Australian batsmen. The daily claimed that it has withheld the names and the match in question for legal reasons.

"I am not saying that both players were involved in spot-fixing, but the sequence of events was enough to create a doubt in my mind. I want to say that a player is called a cheat only when he is caught, otherwise nobody points a finger at him, and believe me 50 per cent of the players fall in this category," Latif said.

"I was an average player, yet I was offered money for wrongdoings and I brought it into the knowledge of the ICC."

Latif said when he was the captain he called for all laptop computers and mobile phones to be banned inside the dressing rooms.

"Now another point of concern for me is the presence of a laptop in the dressing rooms with internet connection, which is mostly used by a coach. The laptop with internet connection should not be allowed in the dressing room, because players can use it for betting on their wickets," he said.


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