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Betting's a thriving industry in Pak

| March 27, 2007, 6:04 PM IST

New Delhi: Former Pakistani pacer Sarfraz Nawaz has claimed that the sub-continent's betting mafia could have been involved in killing Bob Woolmer.

Betting in Pakistan is strictly forbidden though it exists as a murky, but thriving, underground industry.

In Karachi, where young boys try and emulate their idols' actions on the pitch, illegal betting establishments in the back streets are widespread.

And Pakistani cricket journalist, Qaiser Mehmood, confirmed that underworld betting is huge in Pakistan.

"It is an underworld kind of business in this part of the world. The betting on such things (cricket) and other things always has the problem with the local authorities and police, so you cannot point fingers. But, certainly when (the) investigation takes place, if some clues are found, and those clues are followed, that might help in tracking down the culprit," Qaiser Mehmood said.

Meanwhile, in India, an unidentified bookmaker claimed that the betting mafia's role in Woolmer's murder was 'negligible'.

"It (Woolmer's death) is incidental. One person has died. No one can say anything. We cannot say anything on the matter. I think the role of the betting market is negligible in the matter. We have a different business. He is a coach. We cannot say what issues they had within the team or what problems they had," an Indian bookie said

But he did concede that there is a possibility that the murder could have been fixed by betting mafia.

"West Indies is a small place. Anything can be fixed there. Those people can do anything," he said.

The bookie also did not rule out the possibility of certain matches being fixed during the tournament and claimed that India had to advance as massive amounts of money was riding on the team's fortunes.

"The odds open with Asia. The main market is in India at the moment. That is why they cannot let India exit the tournament. They will have to bring India back. In the advertising world, millions of dollars is at stake," he added.

Clearly, the dark side of the gentleman's game survives alongside the hype that surrounds Asian cricket, despite the ICC's strong anti-corruption stance.

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3 England 4366 104
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5 Australia 3672 102
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10071 258
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