While speculation over Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt's participation in the forthcoming T20 and ODI series in England gathered steam on Wednesday, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Nadeem Sarwar told HT that the trio won't be sent back or dropped till proven guilty in the spot-fixing allegations.
‘We haven't taken any decision and the three players are not coming back to Pakistan. We are playing the series and any decision on the trio will be taken only after the Scotland Yard report comes,’ Sarwar said. The trio will miss Pakistan's practice match against Somerset on Thursday as they travelled to London for a meeting with Pakistan High-Commissioner to the UK and PCB chief Ijaz Butt.
The Pakistan Sports Ministry on Wednesday received a detailed PCB report on the incident. ‘The Sports Ministry has received a preliminary PCB report on the entire incident. The ministry is going through it and we will decide tomorrow if the three-member committee will travel to London,’ sports ministry spokesperson Faik Ali said.
While the fate of the trio hanged in balance, mixed reactions emanated from the Pakistan media.
Commentator Gibran Peshimam, writing in English daily Express Tribune argued that the issue was about spot fixing and not match fixing, ‘which is much more serious.’
Cricket writer Faras Ghani said he expected the tour to continue because of the large amount of money involved in sponsorship and ticket sales. He said the worst scenario would be the trio sent back to Pakistan.
According to The News, the PCB is under pressure from the ECB to suspend the tainted cricketers. There were also talks of calling off the tour because of the intense media glare that might impede the players’ performance
With Kamran Akmal’s name getting cleared from any wrongdoing, many here are hoping that the other three too would be set free.