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Hearing for Butt, Amir resumes

DUBAI: The International Cricket Council is expected to rule Sunday on an appeal by Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir against suspensions for their alleged involvement in a betting scandal.

butt amir crickters pakistan newsThe pair are hoping their suspensions are lifted and they are able to join the Pakistan team in the United Arab Emirates for the ongoing series against South Africa.

The team has lost all its matches in the absence of Butt, Amir and Mohamad Asif, who is not challenging his suspension because he is banned from entering the United Arab Emirates due to a previous offense. Pakistan plays its second limited-overs international against South Africa on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

The ICC suspended the trio after a British tabloid sting alleged money was paid for bowling no-balls at prearranged times in a test against England to fix spot betting markets.

The lifting of the suspensions, should it happen, will have no bearing on the investigation into the fixing allegations which the ICC has only said is ongoing.

Butt and Amir refused to comment as they were rushed into ICC headquarters Sunday in Dubai where the governing body’s code of commission board began the second day of hearings. The pair have made no comments since arriving Friday.

Michael Beloff, chief of the ICC’s code of conduct commission who is hearing the appeal, told reporters late Saturday that “we are making progress.”

One of Butt’s lawyers Khalid Ranjha said Sunday he expects the hearing to end around 6 p.m. local time (1400 GMT). He refused to make any further comments.

Before departing Pakistan, Butt said that he was innocent and hoped to be cleared.

“Either you are guilty or you are not, and I am not guilty and I am sure about it,” Butt told reporters.

The 18-year-old fast bowler Amir _ in his first public comments since he was suspended on Sept. 2 _ also hoped to be cleared.

“I hope to get the suspension lifted and will be part of the team,” he said.

Butt’s lawyer Aftab Gul said he was confident they had a good case and would be back on the pitch soon.

“We are going for justice in their court,” Gul said in Pakistan.

“We can’t pre-empt what decision they give, it’s their discretion, but our case is very good.

“There is no strong evidence against Salman Butt on the basis of which we can say that he should remain suspended.”

Ranjha _ a former law minister _ said there was no evidence other than provided by the British tabloid The News of the World.

“I don’t see any substantive evidence against Salman Butt,” he said. “I can read bias into this case.”

Pakistan chief selector Mohsin Khan, meanwhile, has said that he would welcome back both cricketers into the team if their suspensions were lifted.

Khan told the daily Dawn that “we will seek a No Objection Certificate from the PCB to immediately consider their cases for national selection.” -AP

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