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Khan: Pakistan must stick with England tour

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Khan 'shocked' over cricket scandal
  • Imran Khan urges Pakistan to complete their England tour despite betting scam allegations
  • Khan "shocked" by reports players had deliberately bowled no-balls in Test series
  • Former captain Khan says if allegations are true players should be severely punished
  • NEW: ICC president Sharad Pawar says they will wait for police reports before acting

(CNN) -- Former captain Imran Khan says Pakistan should not abandon their tour of England despite allegations that members of their national team were involved in a betting scam.

Cricket legend Khan told CNN that he was "shocked and embarrassed" by the scandal which has left preparations for the team's upcoming one-day international series with England in disarray.

"The tour should definitely continue but if some players have indulged in wrongdoing or committed a crime they should be punished and sent back (home) and replaced.

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"But a tour should never be abandoned because this reflects as if the whole team is involved or the whole cricket structure," added the former all-rounder who led Pakistan to World Cup triumph in 1992.

Khan appeared to have been greeted his wish when International Cricket Council (ICC) president Sharad Pawar appeared to rule out any immediate action against Pakistani players.

"We have discussed it within the ICC and have decided to wait for the police investigation report," Pawar, an Indian cabinet minister, told AFP Monday.

"After that we have to take a viewpoint of the two boards, in this case the Pakistan Cricket Board and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The tour should definitely continue but if some players have indulged in wrongdoing or committed a crime they should be punished
--Imran Khan
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"If anything is established, it will be viewed very seriously by the two boards and the ICC."

Khan, who is at home in Pakistan helping with flood relief efforts, said the reports which surfaced Sunday in the British tabloid newspaper The News of the World had left people around him "upset and demoralized."

The paper claimed it paid agent Mazhar Majeed $230,000 for advance information about three no-balls by bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif in the fourth and final Test between Pakistan and England at Lord's.

It went on to further claim that the players colluded in the alleged betting coup.

Khan added: "There was a feeling of shock and embarrassment especially for Pakistanis living in Britain.

"I guess I went through all those sentiments, but I have to say these are still allegations which I hope turn out not to be true."

Khan, who has forged a political career since retiring from cricket, said he had never been approached by betting syndicates during his 21-year career, 10 of them as Pakistan captain.

"It seemed so impossible a team would throw a match," he said.

Meanwhile, betting expert Mark Davies told CNN that illegal bookmakers in Asia were behind such scandals and that calls to limit legal betting on cricket were wide of the mark.

"This is about transparency in betting of which there is none on the sub-continent," he said.

"Ultimately, it's about fraud and corruption and these people have no place in sport," he added.