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Scotland Yard to question Riaz

Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz has been summoned for questioning by Scotland Yard on Sept 14 over the alleged spot-fixing scandal that erupted during the fourth and final test against England.

cricket Updated: Sep 10, 2010 00:48 IST

Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz has been summoned for questioning by Scotland Yard on Sept 14 over the alleged spot-fixing scandal that erupted during the fourth and final test against England.

"We have allowed him to be interviewed and made him available as we believe in fully cooperating with the ongoing investigations," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt told a news conference in Lahore on Thursday.

Riaz, 25, a left-armer, claimed five wickets on his debut in the third test against England and is a member of Pakistan's one-day squad for the five-match series which starts in Durham on Friday.

Butt also said the PCB had asked Scotland Yard and the International Cricket Council (ICC) to allow suspended trio Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir to return home from the tour of England.

Test captain Butt and fast bowlers Asif and Amir are under investigation for their alleged involvement in the scandal that broke following reports in the News of the World newspaper last month.

"We are hoping they will return (home) in two or three days time," said PCB chairman Butt.

He added the three players were not prisoners in London and the PCB had given assurances they would be made available for questioning when required.

Salman Butt, Asif and Amir were released from Pakistan's squad after the test series but were then provisionally suspended by the ICC, cricket's governing body, pending investigations.

Criminal investigation
Ijaz Butt made it clear the PCB was not showing leniency with the suspended trio but said the board could not carry out a parallel investigation while Scotland Yard was holding a criminal investigation.

"The fact is the three players have not been charged as yet," said the board chairman.

The PCB chief also said Scotland Yard had verified the authenticity of the video recordings released by the News of the World and that they were made before the fourth test at Lord's in which Asif and Amir are alleged to have bowled pre-arranged no-balls.

Asked if he believed the trio were innocent, Ijaz Butt replied that even after nine hours of questioning no charges were made against them.

"If there was something after such intense questioning they would have been arrested," said the PCB chief.

Ijaz Butt, who returned home on Wednesday to heckling and jeering from angry fans at Lahore airport, said it was incorrect that large amounts of money were found in the rooms of their players.

"When Scotland Yard searched the players rooms they found 2,500 pounds ($3,868) in Salman Butt's room and 1,500 pounds in the room of Mohammad Amir," he said. "No currency was found in Asif's room."

He said the players told detectives the money was given to them by their agent for opening an ice cream parlour.

Ijaz Butt also expressed regret that the ICC had suspended the players despite reservations from the PCB.

"We wrote to them that since no charges were made against the players they should not be suspended ... but the ICC suspended them under its code of conduct," said the board chairman.

"We have hired top solicitors in London to represent the players and we feel the police should have informed us before conducting the raid."