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Sarfraz rules out a ‘clean’ World Cup

Karachi: Former Pakistan pacer Sarfraz Nawaz said on Wednesday that a gambling and match fixing mafia is active ahead of next month’s World Cup in southern Africa and a clean event was not possible.

“The gambling mafia is active and World Cup cannot be held without match fixing,” Nawaz, who played 55 Tests and 45 one-day Internationals said.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) last month claimed cricket’s quadrennial showpiece, due to be staged in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya from February 8 to March 23, will be corruption free.

The ICC was forced to form an Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) in 2000 headed by former London police chief Sir Paul Condon after late South African captain Hansie Cronje confessed to taking $130,000 to influence results of international matches.

“ACU has non-technical, cigar smoking people who can’t gauge what’s been done wrong on and off the field, only former players can gauge how the matches are fixed,” said Nawaz.

Nawaz testified before two fixing inquiries in Pakistan and alleged Pakistani and leading international players of involvement in match fixing, but could not substantiate his allegations.

The former pacer, who also played for Northamptonshire in the 70s, tipped South Africa to lift the Cup.

“In my opinion, South Africa with the home advantage and strength of its players, will lift the Cup and their past results against Australia would mean little,” he said.

He criticised Pakistani selectors for picking “ageing horses” in their squad.

“There are six oldies in Pakistan’s team — Wasim, Waqar, Anwar, Inzamam, Rashid Latif and Saqlain Mushtaq — who should have retired last year, and two unfit players in Azhar Mahmood and Inzamam which has disturbed the team combination,” he said.

“Inzamam can’t stay at the crease for more than 35-40 runs because he takes injections to soothe his knee and heel pain.

“If Pakistan’s team reached the Super Sixes it would be their best result,” Nawaz said.

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