Pak cricket board will not drop players without proof

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The PCB ruled out suspending any of its players accused of spot-fixing until the police completes investigation and produces incriminating evidence.

Updated: August 31, 2010 09:51 IST
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The Pakistan Cricket Board has ruled out suspending any of its players accused of spot-fixing until the police completes investigation and produces incriminating evidence.

"There is a case going on with the Scotland Yard. This is only an allegation. There is still no charge or proof on that account. So at this stage there will be no action taken," said PCB chairman Ijaz Butt.

The substantial charges of corruption against members of the Pakistani cricket team have become a national embarrassment and crisis. (Read: Court notice for PCB, Sports Ministry on fixing allegations)

Scotland Yard has met with four Pakistani cricketers, including captain Salman Butt, on Saturday night at their London hotel. That visit was prompted by an expose by tabloid News of the World in which a businessman named Mazhar Majeed took thousands of pounds from an undercover reporter in exchange for ensuring three no-balls at pre-determined points in the match. The expose also showed Majeed passing a jacket with 10,000 pounds in it to two Pakistani cricketers.

The robust evidence provided by that expose is being studied by the UK police. But now, media reports suggest that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been watching for months some of the Pakistani cricketers who feature in the current controversy. (Read: Imran Khan fears for cricket in Pakistan)

According to a report of 'The Guardian', the Anti-Corruption Unit of the ICC has conducted an independent study into the alleged corruption among Pakistani cricketers. It will reportedly share this report with the Pakistani team of investigators deputed to England. Part of the report allegedly focuses on Pakistan's tour to Australia in January - the Sydney Test saw a surprise defeat for Pakistan after a series of dropped catches.

According to a report in The Telegraph, ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit is set to study 82 games (including Tests and ODIs) played by Pakistan amid allegations of a multi-million dollar fixing scam. (Read: Match-fixing scam: More Pak games under scanner)

However, the ICC has said that the rest of the England-Pakistan series - limited over matches- should continue as scheduled, but that the tainted Pakistani cricketers should be replaced. The England Cricket Board could lose 10-12 million pounds if the series is cancelled. Pakistan are set to play 2 T20s and 5 one-day matches.

Senior players for England have reportedly expressed their reluctance to continue with the series - they want Butt as well as Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamir - the fast-bowlers who delivered the no-balls at Lord's at the times set in advance - to be dropped by Pakistan.
(Read: Asif, Aamer - Pak's pace hopes face biggest battle)

A crucial point of the controversy could develop around 50,000 pounds (about 37 lakhs) allegedly found in Butt's room by Scotland Yard. Butt claims that the money was to pay for a trousseau for his sister. However, the cash was found in different currencies, including UAE dirhams.

Pakistan government said that it was keen to ascertain whether allegations of 'spot-fixing' against its cricketers in England were part of a conspiracy but would make "an example" of any player found guilty by taking "toughest action" against him.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that there had been conspiracies against Pakistan cricket team in the past and it was thus necessary to verify whether the new allegations too were part of a conspiracy.

"This incident should not have happened. We want to ascertain if there is any conspiracy against the team or to defame Pakistan. We know that there have been conspiracies against Pakistan in the past - we will consider that angle also. We want to get the facts and get them exonerated," he told reporters in Karachi.

(With PTI inputs)

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