ICC Imposes Ban On Pakistan Cricketers




Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir

Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir

International Cricket Council tribunal head Michael Beloff announced the verdict after a lengthy nine-hour hearing in the Qatari capital Doha. “The Tribunal found that charges that (respectively) Asif agreed to bowl and did bowl a deliberate no ball in the Lord’s Test match played between Pakistan and England from 26 to 29 August 2010, Aamer agreed to bowl and did bowl two deliberate no balls in the same Test, and Butt was party to the bowling of those deliberate no balls, were proved,” said Beloff.

It was then announced that 26-year-old Butt was banned for 10 years. But it added: “Five years are suspended on condition that he commits no further breach of the code and that he participates under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board in a program of anti-corruption education.”

Asif, 28, received a seven-year ban with two suspended on the same condition while 18-year-old Aamer was handed a five-year ban. Aamer said he was stunned by his punishment. “I am shocked and hugely disappointed. I wasn’t expecting that much of a ban,” Aamer said. I was confident that I would get away without any punishment. This is very hard on me. I have just come out of the hearing and have told my family who have tried to console me. I will sit with my lawyer and decide about appealing against the verdict.”

The charges relate to alleged incidents during the Test against England at Lord’s last year, when Britain’s News of the World newspaper claimed the players were willing to deliberately bowl no-balls. The newspaper alleged the three had colluded in a spot-fixing betting scam organized by British-based agent Mazhar Majeed.

The members of the tribunal heard the case for six days last month before deferring the announcement on the request of players’ lawyers. In a separate development on Friday, British prosecutors charged the three players as well as Majeed with corruption offences and summoned them to appear in a London court on March 17.

The decision followed lengthy arguments after the players’ lawyers requested the verdict be adjourned as it could prejudice the criminal case. The trio has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. The ICC decision is sure to heap further scandal on the corruption-tainted sport, whose marquee event – the World Cup – starts in the sub-continent in less than a fortnight.

Cricket was badly hit by the menace of match-fixing in 2000, resulting in life bans on Pakistan’s Salim Malik and Ata-ur Rehman, India’s Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma and South Africa’s Hansie Cronje. Butt, Aamer and Asif became the first players banned over allegations of spot-fixing. The players have 21 days to appeal against the sanctions in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland. Beloff made recommendations to the ICC to make “certain changes to the code with a view to providing flexibility in relation to minimum sentences in exceptional circumstances.”

“The tribunal notes that it is for the ICC, whether and, if so when, the fully reasoned decision in respect of the breaches of the Code and of the sanctions imposed in consequence should be published. It is our strong and unanimous view that it is in the interests of all concerned in the world of cricket that publication should take place as soon as possible,” added Beloff, without taking any questions from media.

Butt, who feared a life ban, had one charge against him – of batting out a maiden over during the Oval Test (a match before the Lord’s Test) – dismissed.

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Gautham S.

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Hi Folks! This is Gautham from Madurai, Tamil Nadu. I'm 20 and doing my final year in Mechanical Engineering at Thiagarajar College of Engineering. I'm a self confessed Cricket lover and I have a great fervor towards writing about the game. In the generations I've come across, I've loved watching Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid bat. Besides writing, I have great interest in singing and I'm a great fan of Hariharan and A.R.Rahman sir. I would like to be remembered as one of the greatest sports journalists who changed the way their profession is perceived. I set myself performance goals and believe in giving a hundred percent in whatever I do. I thank God for giving me an opportunity to work with sports mirror so early in my career. I also thank my friends who made me believe in what I do and gave honest comments about my writing. God is great :)

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