The Telegraph
Friday , September 10 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sheen off England’s T20 win
- Spot-fixing scandal

The World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, which provided England with one of their finest moments in one-day cricket, has been tainted with the suspicion of corruption after two Pakistan players were ordered to hand over phone records from the tournament.

The Daily Telegraph understands Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal have been told to provide the mobile phone numbers they used and records of calls made during the tournament in May by the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).

The cloud of suspicion around the Pakistan team means every fumble and error is treated with scepticism, even though Twenty20’s frenetic pace means mistakes are commonplace.

Butt and Akmal opened the batting in a Super-Eight defeat against England earlier in the tournament. During that match Pakistan dropped three catches, two very simple ones by the off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, and missed a run-out against Kevin Pietersen as he shepherded England to victory.

The scandal around the team has eclipsed three excellent England performances, stretching back to the centuries in the Lord’s Test by Stuart Broad and Jonathan Trott, and good bowling performances in the two Twenty20 matches.

“There’s inevitably a bit of a gloomy atmosphere at the moment and with the sullying of cricket’s name and reputation that’s understandable,” said Andy Flower, the England team director.

“It’s a pity because we are playing some outstanding cricket. We have won two games comfortably and for the skills of the bowlers in particular to be overshadowed so completely is sad.

“It’s fair to say it was the same in the Tests too. I’m sure the players have some strong views on the issues the game is facing but they have gone about their work and put those issues to the back of their minds and that’s a tribute to them.”

Only 5,000 supporters watched the second Twenty20 game in Wales and just one match of the forthcoming 50-over NatWest Series, starting on Friday, has sold out.

Supporters have returned tickets at Headingley and Lord’s in protest at the Pakistan team, although neither Yorkshire nor MCC will be offering refunds.

Sunday’s match at Headingley is an 18,500 sell-out and Yorkshire have added extra security to deal with any protests by Pakistani fans.

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