England captain Andrew Strauss voiced his “outrage” at comments made by Pakistan cricket chief Ijaz Butt accusing his side of corruption as it was confirmed the two remaining one-day internationals between the countries would go ahead as scheduled.
Strauss’ comments came after Butt had fanned the flames of the corruption allegations overshadowing the series by accusing England players of match-fixing in the third one-day international across London at The Oval on Friday.
Butt’s comments were branded “wholly irresponsible and without foundation” by a separate England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) statement.
Strauss, speaking on behalf of the England team, threatened Butt with possible legal action, in a statement that said: “We would like to express our surprise, dismay and outrage at the comments made by Mr Butt yesterday [Sunday].”
“We are deeply concerned and disappointed that our integrity as cricketers has been brought into question. We refute these allegations completely and will be working closely with the ECB to explore all legal options open to us,” the statement said. “Under the circumstances, we have strong misgivings about continuing to play the last two games of the current series and urge the Pakistani team and management to distance themselves from Mr Butt’s allegations. We do, however, recognize our responsibilities to the game of cricket, and in particular to the cricket-loving public in this country, and will therefore endeavor to fulfill these fixtures to the best of our ability.”
The opening batsman, speaking after the toss for the Lord’s one-day international, told Sky Sports: “It’s been a difficult 24 hours for us, there’s no doubt about that.”
Asked if Butt’s remarks soured relations between the teams, Strauss said: “I don’t know about that. It’s one of those situations where everything is a bit raw and emotional, and there is a responsibility on all 22 players that it’s the cricket that does the talking.”
However, Sky reported there had been an altercation in the Lord’s nets between England batsman Jonathan Trott and Pakistan seamer Wahab Riaz — one of four Pakistan players interviewed by British police.
Butt, in an interview with BBC radio yesterday, said he had merely been relaying information from bookmakers relating to England’s one-day defeat at The Oval.
“I have never said this. If you listen to the full tape of the NDTV interview, the bookies are saying this. I am not saying this,” Butt said.
Butt triggered uproar late on Sunday in an interview with the Indian NDTV news channel.
“There is loud and clear talk in bookie circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose the match,” Butt said.