Tainted trio opted out not dropped: Pak High Commissioner

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/W/WajidHasan.jpg' class='caption'> Three Pakistan cricketers at the centre of illegal betting allegations are innocent, Pakistan High Commissioner Wajid S Hasan said on Thursday.

Updated: September 02, 2010 12:05 IST
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Pakistan High Commissioner Wajid S Hasan on Thursday said Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were not dropped for the series against England but opted out due to the "mental torture" they are facing after being accused of involvement in the 'spot-fixing' scandal.

After meeting the three at the Pakistan High Commission, Hasan defended the players and insisted that they remain innocent until proven guilty.

"We are extremely disturbed with what has happened in the past one week. They have maintained that they are innocent and on account of the mental torture that has hugely affected them, they are not in the right frame of mind to play any further," Hasan told reporters here.

"Therefore, they have requested the Pakistan Cricket Board not to consider them for the rest of the matches until their names are cleared," he added.

Hasan also rejected reports that the players are due to be grilled by the Scotland Yard today and said the three would remain in England for the investigations.

"The investigations are on and we will have to wait for the reports. There are no meetings with the Scotland Yard today. They have voluntarily asked for their names not be included in the team. They will definitely remain in England," he said.

Asked whether the passports of the three players had been confiscated by the Scotland Yard, Hasan said, "Their passports are with the team manager."

Hasan said the players morale is low but they would not run away from the investigations.

"They are here, they are not running away. They are innocent and they are defending their innocence. They are upright young men, in fact one of them (Mohammad Amir) created a record of taking 50 wickets in the shortest time. We will give them whatever support they might need," he said.

"Serious charges have been levelled against them and they have to defend themselves. They will even go to court to for that. There have been such incidents in the past. You remember what happened between Imran Khan and Ian Botham, Imran won the case," he added referring to a 1996 instance when Imran defended himself in a libel action brought by Botham and Allan Lamb over ball-tampering.

Asked to comment on the 'News of the World' sting operation on a bookie which started the furore and the photographs of the players with the alleged bookmaker, Hasan said, "I have seen many pictures. I have been a journalist all my life. So, I know what pictures mean."

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