The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has issued the following statement in the wake of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ijaz Butt's comments alleging that England players had taken money to lose the third One-Day International at The Oval.
"The England Cricket team has this morning issued a statement in conjunction with the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA), following allegations made yesterday by the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board," it read.
"The team deplores and rejects unreservedly the suggestion that any England cricketer was involved in manipulating the outcome, or any individual element, of the 3rd NatWest Series ODI at the Brit Insurance Oval between England and Pakistan last week. The players fully understand their responsibilities as representatives of their country, and would not countenance giving less than 100% in any match they play.
"Andrew Strauss, England Captain, speaking on behalf of the team, said:
"'We would like to express our surprise, dismay and outrage at the comments made by Mr Butt yesterday. We are deeply concerned and disappointed that our integrity as cricketers has been brought into question. We refute these allegations completely and will be working closely with the ECB to explore all legal options open to us.
"'Under the circumstances, we have strong misgivings about continuing to play the last two games of the current series and urge the Pakistani team and management to distance themselves from Mr Butt's allegations. We do, however, recognise our responsibilities to the game of cricket, and in particular to the cricket-loving public in this country, and will therefore endeavour to fulfil these fixtures to the best of our ability."'
"Angus Porter, Chief Executive of the PCA, added:
"'The players appreciate the difficult position the ECB finds itself in, and is fully supportive of the actions taken by the Board, along with the ICC, to ensure all allegations of wrong-doing are properly investigated and acted upon. We will continue to cooperate closely with the ECB, with the aim of ensuring that the work to root out corruption is not derailed by mischievous attempts to detract attention from the real issues.'"
© Cricket World 2010