Pakistan trio to contest ICC suspensions

Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt have written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) indicating their intention to defend themselves in respect of the disciplinary action brought against them, their lawyers confirmed on Tuesday.

Pakistan’s tour has been overshadowed by newspaper allegations of a betting scam that saw no-balls deliberately bowled in the fourth Test against England at Lord’s last month.

The claims, published in the News of the World, led to the suspension of Pakistan Test captain Butt and bowlers Amir and Asif by the ICC.

The trio, who are now back in Pakistan, have all been interviewed by police in connection with the allegations and so too on Tuesday was seamer Wahab Riaz, who remains a member of the tour squad.

A statement released by London-based lawyers Addleshaw Goddard on behalf of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Wahab Riaz read: “Wahab Riaz of the Pakistan cricket team voluntarily attended Kilburn Police Station [in north London] to provide assistance in the ongoing investigation concerning allegations published by the News of the World.

“He has been unconditionally released.

“We can also confirm that Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt have written to the ICC indicating their intention to defend themselves in respect of the disciplinary action brought against them.

“The players have expressed concern that the ICC’s investigation could prejudice the police investigation, and have requested additional time to respond fully to the charges.

“The ICC has granted additional time. The players remain willing to cooperate in full with the ICC. No further comment will be made at this time.”

The trio were provisionally suspended by the ICC on September 2.

According to the ICC Code of Conduct, the suspended players have 40 days from receipt of the charges until a hearing takes place, save in exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of both parties.

Riaz, yet to feature in the one-day series against England, could play at The Oval on Friday where defeat for Pakistan would see them go 0-3 down in a five-match campaign.

‘There is no excuse, apart from sheer greed’
Earlier on Tuesday, Ehsan Mani, the Pakistani former president of the ICC, accused the PCB of failing to educate its players about the dangers of corruption.

Mani, who led the ICC from 2003 to 2006, dismissed claims Pakistan players were among the most vulnerable to “spot-fixing” approaches because they weren’t as well-paid as rival international cricketers.

“All cricketers round the world get paid well,” Mani said. “Even Pakistani players are exceedingly well paid relative to the standard of living in their country. There is no excuse [for corruption] apart from sheer greed.

Mani added the ICC should now approach the government in India, the global centre of illegal betting on cricket, to legalise gambling.

“This is the time for the ICC to say to the Indian government that you have to bring this into the loop … This is hurting the credibility, not only of the game but of India and Pakistan.”

Mani’s comments were published on the same day as Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, speaking after a meeting of the ICC chief executives’ committee in Cape Town, said Tuesday: “I am especially keen to engage with governments to consider the regulation of betting.” — AFP

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