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ICC suspends three Pakistan players

Haroon Lorgat (left) and Sir Romie Flamagon at a press conference at Lord"s on Friday.

Haroon Lorgat (left) and Sir Romie Flamagon at a press conference at Lord"s on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Tom Hevezi

The crisis in Pakistan cricket deepened on Thursday as three of its top players, captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, were suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) over allegations of match-fixing saying that they had “arguable case to answer''.

Chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the ICC would do “whatever is necessary to maintain integrity in the sport.

Zero tolerance

“We will not tolerate any sort of corruption within cricket,” he told a crowded press conference with Sir Ronnie Flanagan, chief of ICC's anti-corruption unit, by his side.

He said the offences with which the players were charged carried “serious penalties'' including life bans.

Be decisive

“We must be decisive with such matters… The ICC will do everything possible to keep such conduct out and we will stop at nothing to protect the sport's integrity. While we believe the problem is not widespread, we must always be vigilant,'' he said.

Sir Ronnie said: “They (Butt, Asif and Amir) have a really arguable case to answer in our disciplinary arena but that is not the same as coming, in any sense, to a finding of guilt on their behalf.”

He said they should not be “pre-judged'' until found guilty.

14 days to reply

The players have been given 14 days to reply to charges including that of “alleged irregular behaviour'' during their Test match against England at Lord's last week.

Amir and Asif are accused of deliberately bowling no-balls with the knowledge of Butt as part of a “spot-fixing'' conspiracy masterminded by Mazhar Majeed, a “middleman'' for a betting syndicate.

Majeed was secretly filmed accepting £150,000 from an undercover journalist and predicting that Amir and Asif would bowl three no-balls at pre-determined times during the match.

He named Butt among the players involved in match-fixing.

The trio has already been dropped from the rest of Pakistan's England tour, though Pakistan High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan insisted that they “voluntarily offered not to be included'' because of their “disturbed'' state of mind.

Police interrogation

The suspension came as Butt, Asif and Amir were further questioned by the police.

The interrogation, which took place under “caution'' at a north London police station, lasted several hours.

This was the second time they were questioned.

The players, however, insist that they are innocent and determined to clear their name.

They have been charged under “Article 2 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code for Players and Player Support Personnel” barred from playing until the case has been concluded.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 2:54:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/ICC-suspends-three-Pakistan-players/article15901682.ece

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