Tainted Pakistan pace bowler Mohammed Asif left for the United Kingdom on Tuesday to attend the hearing of the criminal charges brought against him, Salman Butt and Mohammed Aamer, by the United Kingdom Crown Prosecution Service at a Southwark Crown Court in London on May 20.

Asif briefly told the media before leaving that he was committed to contesting the charges against him in the case and prove his innocence. The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned the three players for their involvement in spot-fixing during a Test against England at Lord's last year.

The trio appealed against the verdict with the international Court for Arbitration Sports (CAS) in Geneva, but were later also charged by the Crown Prosecution Services Special Crime Division with conspiracy to commit fraud and cheating.

The three, along with their agent, Mazhar Majeed, a British businessman, appeared before a magistrate in Westminster in March, but were bailed to reappear at the Southwark Crown Court on May 20 go face the charges. They will now stand trial on charges of conspiracy and cheating.

The charges came out of events arising from the fourth Test at Lord's last year when the three players were alleged to have conspired to bowl no-balls at specific times at the behest of Majeed. The alleged conspiracy was first revealed in theNews of the World, which published footage of Majeed receiving £150,000 from undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood.

While Asif left for London, Aamer said he was still waiting for his visa. “I am waiting for the visa. As soon as I get it, I will leave for London to appear in the court,” he said. — PTI

More In: SPORT | Today's Paper