Cricket

Salman Butt, Aamer and Asif summoned

A LOT TO ANSWER: Coach Waqar Younis speaking to the media in Taunton on Tuesday. Photo: AP

A LOT TO ANSWER: Coach Waqar Younis speaking to the media in Taunton on Tuesday. Photo: AP   | Photo Credit: Matt Dunham

In a dramatic twist to the spot-fixing scandal that has rocked world cricket, the three tainted Pakistan players — Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif — were on Tuesday barred from practice at Taunton and asked to return to London for a meeting with top Pakistan officials.

The development came amid intense speculation that the three players, who find themselves at the centre of the scandal, could be suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which has come under increasing pressure from its English counterpart to take strict action against the cricketers.

Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed said the three players did not have nets with the rest of the team because they were preparing for a meeting at the Pakistan High Commission in London on Wednesday.

“The three are not practising today and they have to go to London to attend the meeting at the High Commission in connection with the ongoing investigations into spot-fixing,” Yawar said.

Although Yawar did not specify whether the three players would be subjected to another round of interrogation by Scotland Yard, there was speculation that the players could be questioned again. However, there was no official confirmation yet.

Pakistan has retained all the three players named in the scandal in its one-day squad for the series against England and the team plays a practice match at Taunton on September 2.

No suspensions

A PCB spokesman said on Tuesday that no player would be suspended until a final inquiry report into the charges against him was delivered to the board by Thursday.

The spokesman declined to comment when asked if the accused players would be considered for the first T20 International on Sunday if the report didn't come in by that time.

Yawar further said the High Commissioner had invited a leading British legal expert to be present along with PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt.

“In all probability, the PCB chief and the High Commissioner will talk to the players in front of the legal expert and take a decision on the future course of action in the investigations,” one team source said.

He said the decision to not allow the three players to practice with the team came after a meeting held between one-day captain Shahid Afridi, Yawar, coach Waqar Younis and the PCB chairman.

“The idea apparently is that the players accused of fixing should be kept away from media glare and have been told to remain indoors in the hotel to avoid more controversies,” the source added.

The development comes amid strong indications that the PCB has resolved dismissing the three players.

Geo TV reported that the PCB had taken this decision and it might be implemented before Thursday.

More trouble

There was more trouble for the Pakistan team with another report claiming that Scotland Yard investigators last weekend recovered wads of cash worth £50,000 from Butt's hotel room at the Marriott at Swiss Cottage in London.

When asked about the cash, Butt had reportedly told the investigators that it had been collected for his sister's trousseau.

Sources in the team are now saying that Butt was responsible for the clout that bookie and player agent Mazhar Majeed enjoyed in the team. Asif had also reportedly told investigators that it was Butt who had introduced Majeed to the players.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 1:03:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/Salman-Butt-Aamer-and-Asif-summoned/article15898044.ece

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