Pak cricket fraternity in shock over corruption charges against tainted Pak trio

Saturday, February 5, 2011

KARACHI - The three Pakistani players implicated in the spot-fixing scandal have sent more shock-waves to Pakistan’s cricket community after British prosecutors “authorised” the slapping of charges of corruption as well ‘conspiracy to cheat’ against them.

“We have decided that Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and their agent, Mazhar Majeed, should be charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and also conspiracy to cheat,” Simon Clements, head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Special Crime Division said on Friday.

Amir, one of the tainted trio, expressed his “huge disappointment” over the announcement.

“I really don’t know all the details right now and have just heard about it on television. But it is a huge disappointment and it means now we have to prepare to defend ourselves on another front,” the Daily Times quoted Amir, as telling a television channel in Doha.

“Myself and my lawyer are still looking into the details of the announcement by the British Crown Prosecution Office and will take it from there, but right now the important thing is the verdict announcement on Saturday,” he added.

Many leading players avoided commenting on the sensitive issue, but those who spoke out expressed utter shock at the charges brought against the key Pakistani players.

“We were waiting to see what happens on Saturday in Doha and now this news comes. It basically means that the cricketers now not only face cricketing sanctions but also criminal charges and this is really bad for the image of Pakistan cricket,” said former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas.

Another former captain Rashid Latif noted that the accused players were now in deep trouble, and that they would have to hire the best lawyers to defend themselves against all charges.

“Being summoned to appear in a British court on corruption charges is a big thing and it is a sad day for Pakistan cricket,” he said.

Former Test batsman and ex-national selector Basit Ali said the announcement was a big blow for Pakistan cricket and added the pressure on the national team to play well in the World Cup.

“Our cricket image has taken a beating due to these unfortunateoff the field happenings, which have brought a bad name to us. I don’t want to comment on the outcome because until now the players have not been proven guilty,” he said

“But I know one thing we must do well in the World Cup to tell the world that our cricket is not about these things but about cricket and we are a strong cricket nation,” Basit added.

Former pace bowler Sikander Bakht described the announcement as a bad day for Pakistan cricket, which would bring more problems to the trio.

“I don’t know but maybe we might now have a situation where the ICC tribunal decides to hold its verdict until these criminal charges are sorted out in March,” he said.

The three players have been summoned by the Crown Prosecution Service to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on March 17 to formally face the charges slapped against them. (ANI)

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