Betting Scandal: Cricket’s Summer of Woe Continues

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A sign promoting the fourth one-day international is seen outside Lord's cricket ground in London before the cricket match between England and Pakistan September 20, 2010. REUTERS/Philip Brown (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT CRICKET)

Cricket and baseball have always had plenty in common. Unfortunately, betting scandals can now be added to that list.

Last month, British tabloid newspaper the News of the World lifted the lid on some extraordinary allegations, surrounding four Pakistan cricketers being implicated in a spot-fixing scandal (essentially being paid to commit certain offenses that might go undetected in the wider course of a match but can nevertheless be bet on, such as the pitching of a foul ball).  And now Pakistan has hit back (read more on the original allegations in this story).

Ijaz Butt, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, has alleged that some England players were paid to throw a match between the countries on Friday. Butt was quoted in yesterday’s interview with New Delhi Television as saying: “There is loud and clear talk in bookie circles that some English players have taken enormous amounts of money to lose the match. No wonder there was such a collapse.” That last reference was to a flurry of wickets (outs) falling in a short space of time with Pakistan winning the match.

When speaking to the BBC on Monday morning, however, Butt tried to change his tune,  saying he had no proof of any wrongdoing but was merely relaying information he had heard from bookmakers. Adding extra spice is that the teams are playing against each other again today, with a furious England not only dismissing the allegations but considered canceling the remaining matches in response to Butt’s claims. The game, however, is going ahead at the home of cricket, Lords, in St. John’s Wood, London though the BBC is now reporting that the England players might sue Butt for defamation.

And while this is no time for jokes, NewsFeed has watched enough English cricket over the years to reassure readers that they never need to be paid to lose wickets, as they’re more than capable of doing that themselves.