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Lawson airs Pakistan support

Former coach offers support to underfire players

Butt: Backed by Lawson

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Former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson claims the current squad may have been forced into getting involved in the 'spot-fixing' betting scandal that has rocked cricket.

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"It would not surprise me if illegal bookmakers have told players that if they do not perform X and Y, their families will be kidnapped or harmed"

Geoff Lawson.

Quotes of the week

Pakistan's current tour of England is under threat after allegations in The News of the World that seven members of the team were involved with illegal betting syndicates.

The accused include captain Salman Butt, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and star bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer but Lawson has offered his support.

The former Australia fast bowler, who coached Pakistan from July 2007 to October 2008, believes criminal organisations target players with non-financial ways of ensuring matches go according to a certain plan

In his column in The Sydney Morning Herald, Lawson wrote: "(The allegations) could be related to extortion, threats, and the well-being of (the players') own family members.

"It would not surprise me if illegal bookmakers have told players that if they do not perform X and Y, their families will be kidnapped or harmed."

External influences

Lawson believes there could be a host of other external influences that could affect a player's cricketing loyalties.

"I will never condone any form of fixing, but we should consider that a cricketer might not be thinking of personal gain but of getting money to buy a generator for his village because they don't have electricity," he added.

"I had a lot to do with Mohammad Asif and he was always missing training sessions to look after his sick mother. He has spent a lot of his money on looking after his family."

And Lawson offered words of support for Butt and Aamer, saying: "If Salman Butt is involved in any match-fixing, I would be absolutely stunned. He is a very intelligent, polite guy and has done well since taking over the team.

"(And) it would be the greatest tragedy if a young man like Aamer has been led astray."