I have been besieged with interview requests after the Rashid Latif story. Cricket fans have also been calling, asking for details. I guess some light has to be thrown on the story behind the story. It was Mr Arif Abbassi, former chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), who took the trouble of introducing me to Saeed Younus, London-based agent of more than a dozen Pakistani players. In my conversations with Youunus from Delhi, where I was essentially seeking help in tracking a Jersey company (next item), Younus mentiond to me in passing a Pakistani player who had a thick dossier of evidence regarding match-fixing by current Test players. Younus wouldn't tell me the name o the player concerned was 27 years old. That suggested Latif. I had many sittings with Younus at his flat in West Brompton (where Saqlain Mushtaq also stays) before the Latif meeting. Younus and Latif picked me up outside the Holborn tube station and I was with them for over an hour. My instincts then and now tell me that Latif was speaking the truth. And it is with great amusement that I observe all the hoo-ha in the newspapers about denials and more denials.
An interesting episode at the end of my session with Latif was when they dropped me off at the Charing Cross station. Latif was sitting in the back-seat with his dossier and Younus kept telling him good-naturedly not to keep it so close to a journalist or he would snatch it and run off. But Latif allowed me a good look at the photostats of the cheques to Salim Malik which Latif got hold of from Dubai after a lot of sleuthing. My look was, however, not good enough to register the bank name, the exact date, etc. I also got brief glimpses of letters and margin notes on those letters. Latif himself turned sentimental when he spoke of the reason for his not being in the current Pakistan team. "They have branded me as MQM. Does it mean we are not Pakistanis?" he said. My advice to Latif would be to dig in for a fight. I personally think Rashid baby has dynamite and he can be the lone gunman with all cylinders blazing.