Provisionally-suspended Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir have hit out at the International Cricket Council (ICC) and accused them of treating the duo unfairly following its decision to uphold the provisional suspension against the Pakistani players.
The two players returned to Lahore from Dubai where their appeals over their provisional suspensions were rejected by the chairman of the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, Michael Beloff, after a two-day hearing that ended on Sunday.
The pair, who were suspended on September 2 by the ICC along with teammate Mohammad Asif who opted not to appeal against his suspension, have been told to prepare for a full hearing of the case as they are facing serious allegations of spot-fixing.
“They have no evidence and it appears they are just trying to corner Pakistan,” angry former Test captain Salman told reporters at the airport. “We’re being victimised because we’re Pakistanis. They have no evidence except for what has appeared in the News of the World and they didn’t even give us a date for the full hearing, we are totally disappointed.”
A report in the British tabloid alleged Amir and Asif deliberately bowled no-balls to order in a Test against England at Lord’s in August, with the involvement of Salman who was then the captain of the side. Left-arm fast bowler Amir said the allegations against them were a conspiracy against Pakistan cricket.
“To me it appeared as if this is a conspiracy to defame Pakistan cricket,” said Amir. “I am hurt and sad because we want the truth to come out. I am disappointed because they didn’t even tell us the reason for rejecting our appeals. It appeared as if the decision of the hearing had been made beforehand.”
The former Test captain also hit out at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after the board refused to back the players and provide any sort of assistance following the ICC’s decision. According to Salman, the board asked the players not to speak out in the aftermath of the allegations which led to the belief that the players were guilty, a notion that Salman denied vociferously.
“We remained quiet after the allegations were labelled on us but that’s because the PCB told us not to speak to the media about it,” he told a local news channel.
“Now the PCB has backed off as well which is why I ask anyone that has any evidence against us to come forward. If there’s something against us then bring it out otherwise let us play.”
Salman’s lawyer Aftab Gul said after Sunday’s decision that while the hearing was fair he was disappointed by the outcome. The two players said they would wait for the ICC to send them a date for the hearing before deciding on their next step.
Salman also questioned the ICC’s decision in the light of the ongoing investigations in the UK given that the alleged bookmaker involved in the case, Mazhar Majeed, was freed without charge and is “free to go about his life as normal”. (With additional input from Reuters)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2010.
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