x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Pakistan duo on the carpet tomorrow

Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer will face an ICC hearing into their provisional suspension over allegations of spot-fixing in Dubai tomorrow.

Dubai // Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer will be in Dubai tomorrow to face an International Cricket Council (ICC) hearing into their provisional suspension over allegations of spot-fixing.

The two-day meeting was switched from Doha to the UAE after Mohammad Asif, the third Pakistan player under investigation, withdrew his appeal against the provisional suspensions imposed on him and his teammates by the ICC. The meeting was initially scheduled for Qatar because Asif is barred from entering the UAE following his detention in 2008 for a drug-related offence.

Butt, Aamer and Asif were suspended by the ICC on September 2, following an undercover operation by the News of the World newspaper into alleged spot-fixing.

The hearing, starting tomorrow morning at the ICC headquarters in Dubai, will focus only on the appeals against the suspension and whether the three players should be allowed to continue playing while the charges against them are investigated. The hearing into the charges themselves will be held at a later date.

Butt, the batsman and former Test captain, has hired two lawyers - Khalid Ranja, a former Pakistan federal law minister, and former cricketer Aftab Gul - to present his case before Michael Beloff QC, the head of the ICC code of conduct commission.

Aamer, the 18-year-old fast bowler, has hired Shahid Karim, who represented Asif in his appeal against a doping suspension two years ago. The Pakistan Cricket Board is not providing any financial assistance to the players in their legal battle.

Mudassar Nazar, a former Pakistan opener and captain who is now employed by the ICC at the Global Cricket Academy at Dubai Sports City, knows all three players well from their time at Pakistan's National Cricket Academy.

"All these three cricketers have come through the system," Nazar said. "Butt came to the academy when he was barely 16 or 17 years of age. Every time he has failed, he has gone back to the academy, rectified his mistakes, gone back into the Test cricket or one-day cricket and done well. Asif, thrown out of the team, was again brought to the National Academy. At one time, he was living there."

Nazar will have no sympathy with his countrymen if they are found guilty.

"For these guys to make mistakes, or allegedly to have made mistakes, is mind-boggling," he said. "If anyone of the Pakistani players knew about the pitfalls, these three should have because they knew everything. If they are found guilty, they must pay a penalty - they should not be allowed to play for Pakistan again."

Butt has so far pleaded his innocence. "We are innocent and have to fight our case on our own," the 26-year-old told Pakistan's Geo television. "The first and the foremost thing is to fight this case out, and I am eager to do that.''

Beloff, who will chair the hearing tomorrow and on Sunday, is the president of the British Association of Sport and Law. He attended Eton and Oxford, and was president of Trinity College from 1996 to 2006. Time magazine included him in its 2008 list of the 100 most influential lawyers in Britain, while in 1999 Legal Business called him one of the top 10 barristers of the decade.

The case marks the first time the ICC has provisionally suspended players under its anti-corruption code. The clause for provisional suspension was included in the Anti-Corruption Code for Players and Player Support Personnel less than a year ago, and came into force on October 6, 2009, after unanimous approval from all ICC member nations.

arizvi@thenational.ae

TIMELINE

August 28 News breaks of a cricket corruption story appearing in the following day’s News of the World.
August 29 A 35-year-old man is arrested in connection with allegations of “spot-fixing” reported by the newspaper. Mazhar Majeed is later bailed without charge. Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, the Pakistan players, have their mobile phones confiscated by police.
August 30 The International Cricket Council (ICC) promises “swift and decisive action” if the allegations are proved.
September 2 Butt, Asif and Aamer are charged by the ICC under their anti-corruption code and are suspended.
September 3 Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, confirms that Butt, Asif and Aamer were being questioned by police and released without charge.
September 5 Yasir Hameed, the Pakistan Test opener, reportedly admits to the News of the World some of his teammates were involved in fixing “in almost every match”.
September 9 Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, confirms that Wahab Riaz, the fast bowler, will be questioned by police over spot-fixing.
September 14 Butt, Asif and Aamer announce their intention to defend themselves against any charges.
September 17 Scotland Yard confirms a file of evidence on claims that Pakistan cricketers accepted cash bribes.
September 18 The ICC confirms it is investigating a “certain scoring pattern” during the third one-day international between England and Pakistan at The Oval.
September 19 PCB chairman Butt alleges some England players claimed “enormous amounts of money’’ to fix the result of the match at The Oval.
September 29 Butt apologises for his remarks.
October 6 ICC confirms the appeals of Butt, Aamer and Asif.
October 22 Asif withdraws his appeal pending determination of the charges brought against him.