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More questioned in fixing probe

Three more players questioned as two former captains blame the PCB for latest corruption scandal

Three more cricketers have been questioned by the Pakistan Cricket Board's anti-corruption unit over match-fixing concerns in the Pakistan Super League Twenty20 competition.

They are fast bowler Mohammad Irfan and left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar - who have both played Test cricket - and opening batsman Shazaib Hassan, who represented Pakistan in a handful of one-day matches in 2010.

They will continue to play for their respective franchise in the Twenty20 league in the United Arab Emirates, PSL chairman Najam Sethi said on Saturday.

Sethi said efforts will continue "to protect the PSL from the menace of corruption."

The news makes a total of five players who have come under the gaze of cricket's anti-corruption investigators for alleged activities in the PSL.

On Friday, batsmen Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif were provisionally suspended from the league and ordered to return home.

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The Pakistan Cricket Board, in suspending the pair on Friday said it was investigating "an international syndicate which is believed to be attempting to corrupt the PSL."

"This investigation is a clear demonstration of our determination to drive corruption out of our sport," Sethi said.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan captains Javed Miandad and Aamer Sohail say their nation's cricket board is to blame for the latest corruption scandal to rock the country.

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Pakistan cricket has a chequered history with corruption and just last year, fast bowler Mohammad Amir returned to the national side having served a five-year ban as well as a jail sentence for his role in a spot-fixing scandal.

Miandad and Sohail said the latest scandal was due in part to Pakistan's willingness to welcome Amir back into the fold.

"This is the result of the laxity and tolerance shown by the Board in the past while dealing with such players who bring into disrepute the game and their country," Miandad, who played 124 Tests for his country, was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

"When you show tolerance then you will face these issues. The Board has to only blame itself for the sorry state of affairs. Corruption is there also in our domestic cricket.

"In a population of 200 million people, the Board insisted on recalling Mohammad Aamir to the national side as if they were no other talent available in the country.

"When you set such examples, what do you expect from other players?"

Sohail, who captained Pakistan on six occasions in the 1990s, agreed with his former teammate.

"The Board is responsible for this latest damage to our image," he told PTI.

"What message did the Board send out to others when they insisted on fast tracking Mohammad Amir back into the national team?

"No matter he had completed his ban but how can you forgive a person who has tried to sell the honour of his country? The Board's weak policies has led to this situation."

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said players should know the pitfalls of corruption.

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"Under no circumstances will the PCB condone actions of a few individuals to bring disrepute to the game of cricket or taint the image of Pakistan," he said.

Khan later told media gathered at Karachi airport that evidence of wrongdoing exists.

"We have evidence against the players and we are into further investigation," Khan said.

"Sharjeel was on my flight back from Dubai but we did not meet."

Sharjeel made his Test debut against Australia in Sydney last month and has played 25 one-day internationals and 15 Twenty20s.

Latif has represented Pakistan in five ODIs and 13 T20s.