While expressing reservations the way ICC handled the case of three Pakistani cricketers, Chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board, Muhammad Ijaz Butt was confident that test captain Salman Butt, pacers duo of Muhammad Aamir, Muhammad Asif and Salman Akbar accused of spot fixing will be declared innocent.
Chairman PCB was not visibly happy the way Games Ruling Body, the ICC handled the case of the Pak cricketers and suspended them in “haste” without taking PCB into confidence.
“I am the Chairman of PCB and its my duty to defend the Pakistani cricketers and so far nothing has been proved against them after thorough investigations conducted by the Scotland Yard and in the given circumstances I am confident they will be declared innocent”, he asserted.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had tried to fight the case for the three cricketers accused of spot-fixing, sending a letter to the ICC after the governing body suspended the players four days after the News of the World sting operation.
In his first statement following the suspension of Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said: “ We wrote a letter to ICC on behalf of the players but they want individual replies from the players which will be given to them in the allowed 14 days.”
Butt said investigations are under way and police has yet to charge any player and we are very concerned over the allegations and since we too have zero tolerance against corruption, we also want this to finish soon.
“We are really worried about the matter and if any player is found responsible then we will take strict action,” he added
The PCB chief had initially learnt about the spot-fixing incident when he was called by the team manager Yawar Saeed on the fourth day of the Lord’s Test, when the News of The World sting was released. Butt said he was told by Saeed that, “police have warrants to search the players’ rooms. On Friday the players were interrogated for nine hours but no charges are levelled against them.
“If some thing has established or proved against them they accused players would have been sent behind the bars but the so far investigations have proved nothing against them”, he added.
The ICC acted last Thursday, five days after the initial story in which the New of the World,(NOTW) alleged that Salman Butt, Amir and Asif were part of a plan arranged by the target of the sting, Mazhar Majeed, to bowl deliberate no-balls.
He disclosed that Mazhar Majeed was also the agent of the players and he even had worked for former captain Inzamam ul haq and other test cricketers.
“He is long associated with the players and now PCB has finalised a procedure in order for registration and clearance of players agent-manager in order the keep bad elements away from them and the game”, he maintained.
He said Scotland Yard recovered pounds sterling 2500 from the room of Salman Butt, and pounds sterling 1500 from the room of Muhammad Aamir while no money was found from the room of Muhammad Asif.
“Salman said the money recovered was the part of the deal of opening an ice cream parlour in London which was later proved “, he said adding “while the money recovered from Aamir’s room was his personal”.
He said the process of registrations and clearance of players agent is as follows “the agent should apply in writing to PCB giving details of the players they wish to represent, the scope of representation, terms of contract with players, and their own background date to the PCB for approval.
PCB will forward this information to the concerned high commissioner, ambassador of Pakistan in the country to which the agent belongs for their checking and approval. After receipt of this approval PCB will accord the approval.
“These procedures are to be completed by all agents and players by September 30”, he maintained.
Ijaz Butt said PCB was fully supporting the accused players and Pakistani High Commission in London, Wajid Shamsul Hasan and a british female lawyer hired by the PCB were in constant touch with the players.
“Now the stage has come that these players will directly be responding to the ICC on the ongoing investigations but it does not mean that we have left them alone, we are providing all out assistance whatever is required from our end in our quest to declare them innocent”, he maintained.
Chairman PCB acknowledged the role and contribution of Wajid Shamsul Hasan for his all out support and cooperation in the ongoing issue.
He informed that Wahab Riaz, the left-arm fast bowler, will be interviewed by Scotland Yard officials on September 14.
Riaz will be the fourth Pakistan player to face police questioning in relation to the spot-fixing scandal.