An International Cricket Council tribunal's decision to defer the spot-fixing verdict until next month will give renewed hope to the suspended Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Aamer, his lawyer said yesterday.
Shahid Karim, who represented Aamer at the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption tribunal in Doha, was confident that the player will be exonerated when the council's decision is announced on February 5.
"The last day of the [six-day] hearing was very positive," Karim said.
The three-man tribunal, headed by Michael Beloff, deferred its verdict because it wanted to deliberate after 45 hours of exhaustive hearings.
"It could be a silver lining for us," said Karim, who had also requested a delay of the ruling on Tuesday.
Three Pakistan players - Aamer, Mohammad Asif and the former captain Salman Butt - were suspended last September after a British newspaper alleged they accepted payments for bowling prearranged no-balls in a Test against England.
The latest spot-fixing case against the Pakistan trio has been described as the biggest in cricket over the past decade, and the players could be banned for life if found guilty.
Karim said the tribunal had exonerated Aamer from the spot-fixing charges in the Oval Test against England, with only the spot-fixing charge from the Lord's Test remaining.
If the players are found guilty, they could challenge the ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but Karim was not looking that far ahead.
"I haven't yet thought about that, I hope he [Aamer] will be exonerated next month when the verdict will be announced," he said.
Meanwhile, Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has urged his players to deliver the knockout punch in the second Test against New Zealand.
Pakistan inflicted a crushing 10-wicket defeat on their hosts last week in Hamilton, where the New Zealand batsmen - trailing by 92 after the first innings - were dismissed for 110 inside 39 overs to allow the visitors to wrap up the match inside three days. The second match starts in Wellington early tomorrow morning and Misbah hopes his side display a ruthless streak again.
"Our best policy for the upcoming match will be to go for a win, rather than just consolidate our 1-0 lead," Misbah told PakPassion.net.
Misbah, however, warned against complacency and said Pakistan had plenty of room for improvement as "New Zealand will come hard at us".
Misbah, 36, who has hit four half-centuries since being appointed Test captain, believes Pakistan can ignore the shortcomings of the first Test at their own peril.
"What I would like to see is for our batsmen, myself included, to ensure that we make full use of our good starts, and ensure that we bat for long periods," he said. "If a similar situation to Hamilton presents itself, we should ensure we earn a bigger lead than 92."
Warning his teammates of a potential backlash, Misbah added: "We will need to work even harder and ensure that we are even more focused in Wellington."