Karachi:The International Cricket Council's decision to hold a further hearing on the spot-fixing row next month in Doha has evoked mixed reactions from the cricket community here, with former Pakistan captains terming the whole process as "complex".
ICC's three-member independent anti-corruption tribunal hearing allegations against tainted cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir reached no decision today and decided to continue its deliberations and hold a further hearing in Doha on February 5.
The trio were charged of spot-fixing during Pakistan's tour of England last year. It is alleged that players conspired in bowling deliberate no-balls during a Test at Lord's, a claim which they all deny.
Former Pakistan skipper Zaheer Abbas said he had failed to understand why the tribunal had delayed its verdict even after six days of deliberations.
"It is not fair as the players remain suspended and spend more time agonising over what is going to happen to them," Abbas said.
"Obviously, something is fishy (with the process) and some evidence would have been discussed at the hearing. It's all complex. But perhaps they require time to deliberate on the length of punishments to be awarded to the players," he added.
Former World Cup winning captain Imran Khan said it was good that, for the first time, the ICC was taking match-fixing issue seriously.
"My only contention is that the board should have taken action against these players when the allegations first surfaced. They shouldn't have waited for the ICC to suspend them which spoilt our image," he said.
Imran said if the players come out clean of spot-fixing charges, they should sue the British tabloid 'News of the World' for damages.
"If they are guilty, then the tribunal must give them exemplary punishment," the former skipper added.
Another former captain Rashid Latif, who blew the whistle on the match-fixing menace in international cricket 15 years back, said the ICC tribunal is taking too much time to announce its verdict.
"This is a very complex case. It is all based on the statement of one man, Mazhar Majeed and on the assumption that he knew Pakistani players were going to deliberately bowl no-balls in the Lord's Test," he said.
"What I feel is that the tribunal will now deliberate upon details of the statements of the three players and their lawyers and the evidence submitted by the ICC lawyers. I have a feeling that Salman Butt will bear the brunt of the punishment and Asif and Amir might get lighter sentences according to the anti-corruption clauses," Latif added.
Another former captain and chief selector Aamir Sohail felt that the delay had come about because of the complex nature of the case.
"There is so much to look into and I think this is a much wider issue then just being limited to Pakistan cricket that is why the tribunal is taking its time in reaching a decision," he said.
Former wicketkeeper and captain Moin Khan said a decision in the case should come faster as the players and their families would be under lot of stress.
"Whatever happens the damage has been done to Pakistan cricket and its image. And I think even if the decision comes on February 5 we should plan for the World Cup without any of these three players in mind," he said.