x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Butt, Asif and Amir due in court and Cook dismisses Gul claims

The criminal trial of three Pakistani Test cricketers and their agents is set to get underway in London.

The criminal trial of three Pakistan Test cricketers and their agent is set to get underway at the Southwark Crown Court in London on Tuesday.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir are alleged to have bowled deliberate, pre-planned no balls during the fourth Test between Pakistan and England at Lord's in August 2010, allegedly at the behest of agent-businessman Mazhar Majeed.

The four men face charges of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and also conspiracy to cheat.

The three players have already been banned from all forms of official cricket for a minimum of five years each by an International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal earlier this year. During the tribunal hearings, in Doha, Qatar, the trio pleaded their innocence.

The controversy emerged as a result of an undercover investigation by the now-defunct UK tabloid newspaper News of the World.

In the fallout of the scandal on and off-field ties between Pakistan and England deteriorated.

Although they are not as bad as they were last year, tensions still remain, as evident in the latest skirmish prompted by Umar Gul's assertions that James Anderson and Stuart Broad have indulged in ball-tampering.

Gul later issued a retraction of sorts but England's one-day international (ODI) captain, Alastair Cook, dismissed the claims.

"We certainly haven't tampered with the ball and, if he did have any complaints, he should have gone to the ICC over that," Cook said. "I think he has almost said himself that it has been a bit of a mountain out of a molehill."

Pakistan are to play England in the UAE from January 2012. Pakistan will host Sri Lanka in the UAE later this month, for which they have named Mohsin Khan, the chief selector, as their interim coach.