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    Cricketers to be punished if guilty - ICC

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    ODN

    by ODN

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    The Pakistani cricketers at the centre of match-fixing allegations face swift and firm punishment if found guilty, according to the the game's ruling body.


    The International Cricket Council (ICC) said there was no place for "corruption in this great game" and threatened "prompt and decisive action" against "those who seek to harm it".


    The warning follows an outcry over newspaper allegations suggesting that members of the Pakistan team were part of a match-fixing ring.


    Supported by video evidence, the News of the World alleged that two Pakistan fast bowlers agreed to bowl no balls - foul deliveries - at certain times during last week's Lord's Test.


    ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit is investigating the allegations and helping police with their criminal inquiry.


    He said: "Make no mistake - once the process is complete, if any players are found to be guilty, the ICC will ensure that the appropriate punishment is handed out. We will not tolerate corruption in this great game."


    His statement followed talks with high-ranking officials from the England and Pakistan camps amid calls for Pakistan to be suspended from the game and the players concerned banned for life if the claims are proven.


    However, there was no move to suspend those players, meaning they can take the field against Somerset on Thursday and England in a Twenty20 international on Sunday.


    Players refused to answer questions from reporters as they went into their hotel in Taunton after a coach journey from London.


    They include four questioned by police over the timing of no balls bowled during the Lord's Test against England.


    Cricket agent Mazhar Majeed, 35, is on police bail as officers investigate claims that reporters from the News of the World posing as Far Eastern businessmen paid a middleman £150,000 in return for exact details relating to play at Lord's.