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Cricket scandal affected cricketers are innocent

AamirBowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir and Test captain Salman Butt – the accused in the Sunday papers included in the betting scam – has proclaimed his innocence during the meeting with Pakistan High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan, London.

The three players have made it very disturbing, what has happened over recent weeks, particularly their alleged involvement in a scam, Hasan said in its opinion on behalf of the players.

They said they are completely innocent of the whole episode, and defend the same innocence.

Pakistan team manager Saeed said Yawer Earlier Thursday, the players were out around the other team, which consists of two Twenty20 and five one-day international football.

British newspaper the News of the World alleged Sunday that Amir and Asif were paid to deliberately bowl no-balls in the opening day of the fourth test against England at Lord’s last week.

Butt and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal were also implicated in the story.

Asif, Amir and Butt had their mobile phones confiscated by police, who also searched hotel rooms and questioned players on Saturday as part of an investigation also involving the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.

Saeed, speaking prior to the start of Pakistan’s warmup match against English county side Somerset in Taunton, said the three players had not been suspended by the PCB.

With no charges filed in the case, any official sanctions against the players would be considered premature. But ECB officials did not want the one-day matches to go ahead against a Pakistan team that included the implicated players.

The omission of the three players for the rest of the tour appeared to be a compromise between the ECB, PCB and ICC.

Saeed said 13 players would be available for the two T20 matches before three replacements arrive to bolster the squad for the one-day series.

“The T20 squad will remain what it is here this morning, i.e. 13 people,” Saeed said. “When we play the one-day internationals, we will be asking for replacements to make the squad up to 16.”

Saeed, who had earlier said the trio would continue playing unless police laid criminal charges against them, did not say who the replacements would be.

The ECB welcomed the decision by Pakistan not to include Asif, Amir and Butt in its limited-overs squads.

“We can assure cricket fans across the country that the matches will be played in the most competitive spirit long associated with contests between England and Pakistan,” EBC chairman Giles Clarke said.

Clarke, who is also chairman of the ICC’s Pakistan Task Team, said he hoped the incident did not slow Pakistan’s reintegration into world cricket.

“I look forward to working with Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the PCB, and everybody involved in Pakistan cricket in taking forward cricket in Pakistan so that a plan exists for the whole of Pakistan cricket, given all the many and varied issues which it’s up against,” Clarke added. —AP

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