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    Less than twenty-four hours after the release of the Qayyum report,
    sensational new claims have begun to emerge in Australia about the
    involvement of Salim Malik and a range of other Pakistani players and
    officials in the practice of match-fixing.

    More specifically, Australian television viewers have been treated to their
    first brief sighting of video footage which captures Malik discussing (with
    undercover reporters from London's News of the World) the potential fixing
    of upcoming internationals. Although the picture quality left a little to
    be desired, and most of the words uttered required subtitling, there was
    little doubt as to the incriminating nature of the images that appeared on
    one of the country's major evening news services on Thursday. The story
    also received reinforcement the following morning in one of the country's
    major daily newspapers.

    At the core of both reports was the suggestion that the tapes contain
    pointed references from Malik to the fact that a network of Pakistani
    players and officials remain trapped in the tentacles of the match-fixing
    and betting curse. Most alarmingly of all, they are said to feature Malik
    implicating not only current star players such as Wasim Akram and
    Inzamam-ul-Haq but also former captain and former ICC match referee Asif
    Iqbal, (at this stage unnamed) international umpires, and current Pakistan
    captain Moin Khan, one of the few veterans in the present national team to
    have so far remained largely untainted by match-fixing innuendo. If in any
    way true, the involvement of Moin is potentially among the most damaging
    elements of the relevations. If for no other reason, this is because it
    would completely compromise the recent attempts of authorities in Pakistan
    to appoint a captain of the type of "impeccable character" that the Qayyum
    report advocates is an essential step in the abolition of corrupt conduct
    from within the national team's ranks.

    Naturally, it goes without saying that news of Justice Qayyum's
    recommendation of a life ban from cricket for Malik has been warmly
    received in Australia. A general undercurrent of suspicion has been
    accorded the former Pakistan captain's actions ever since the time that
    news of his apparent attempt to bribe Mark Waugh, Shane Warne and Tim May
    to deliberately underperform at the international level first surfaced more
    than five years ago. For an audience already cynical of the motivations of
    the man at the centre of them, the authenticity of the tapes and that part
    of their content which has been revealed has therefore remained largely
    unchallenged to the moment. At this stage - and perhaps it should not be
    regarded as any sort of surprise in such a climate - there has been no
    air-play or coverage of the claim (also rumoured to have been made to the
    News of the World reporters) that Malik has implicated members of at least
    one Australian team in the fixing of a one-day international match.

    The release of these previously unpublished tapes raises the spectre that
    the cricketing community needs be on guard for the outpouring of yet more
    claims and counter-claims about the extent of the involvement of various
    Pakistani figures in the whole saga of the rigging of internationals. For
    a while to come yet at least, general speculation is certain to continue to
    dwarf attempts at closing the book on this particular aspect of cricket's
    recent past.