Pakistan team accused of throwing crucial matches

ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani parliamentarian has accused the national cricket team of deliberately losing matches in this month's Champions Trophy tournament and has demanded an explanation from its coach, captain and the chairperson of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani parliamentarian has accused the national cricket team of deliberately losing matches in this month's Champions Trophy tournament and has demanded an explanation from its coach, captain and the chairperson of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

"We will be meeting with them on October 13 as we feel the team deliberately lost the games against Australia and New Zealand," Jamshed Dasti, chairperson of the standing committee on sport in the Pakistan Lower House, said yesterday.

Pakistan were defeated by Australia in the last group match last week before losing to New Zealand in the semifinal.

"They lost to Australia just to keep India out of the tournament," Dasti said.

Australia might not have qualified for the semifinal had Pakistan won against the defending champions.

"There are lots of doubts about the performance of the team and we feel it has to be cleared by the PCB officials and the team management," Dasti said.

"The way we lost in the semifinal, it has left the whole nation disappointed and the PCB has to give answers."

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam and captain Younis Khan returned home on Monday, while PCB chairperson Ijaz Butt remained in South Africa to attend International Cricket Council meetings. It is not the first time the parliamentary committee has summoned PCB officials, but it has only the power to give recommendations to the prime minister and the president.

A PCB spokesperson defended the team's performances against Australia and New Zealand, and said the cricket board had not yet received any formal invitation to appear before the committee. - Sapa-AP

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