Envoy backs Pak tainted trio
Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt will play no part in the limited-overs segment of their team's continuing England tour. HT Correspondent reports.cricket Updated: Sep 03, 2010 02:26 IST
Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt will play no part in the limited-overs segment of their team's continuing England tour.
The three have been in the dock since Sunday, when a UK tabloid's sting operation suggested they were part of a 'spot-fixing' betting racket.
While Pakistan will work with a 13-man squad for the two T20 matches that will follow, replacements will be flown in to take the places of the trio for the five-match ODI series.
Exactly what led to the trio being sidelined wasn't clear, as the team management and Pakistan High Commission in London explained things differently.
Manager Yawar Saeed said the players had been "dropped" and added: "When we play the ODIs we will be asking for replacements."
Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's High Commisioner to the UK, saw things differently. "They are innocent until proven guilty. They are under interrogation, so they have to defend themselves," he said on Thursday morning. "They are bright young men, one of them has just broken a world record, and we will go to a court of law to defend them."
Hasan insisted the players were innocent, and would not be banned or suspended just yet. "They said on account of the mental torture, they're not in the right frame of mind to play. Therefore they have requested the PCB not to consider them until their names are cleared," said Hasan.
Later in the day Hasan went as far as telling a TV channel that the video evidence could have been "manipulated."
What is clear, however, is that ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat had a key role to play in getting the three tainted players dropped from the remainder of the tour, as the decision was taken after meetings between Lorgat and PCB chief Ijaz Butt that stretched late into Wednesday night.
The decision also comes on the heels of both the England team and the Professional Cricketers' Association raising objections to the presence of the players who are under investigation.As expected, Thursday was a day of high drama, with the players in question arriving at the High Commission in a car with blackened windows, and having to fight off a chaotic media scrum before they could enter the premises.