Lahore: Suspended Pakistani cricketer duo of Salman Butt and Muhammad Aamir will leave on Friday for Dubai to attend a crucial two-day ICC hearing, which would decide their future in international cricket.
Lawyers for the two players, who were suspended by the ICC in September for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing and violating the ICC anti-corruption code, will accompany them for the hearing that will be presided over by Michael Beloff QC.
Pacer Muhammad Asif, who has also been provisionally suspended by the ICC, has withdrawn his appeal against the suspension and would not be attending the hearing.
“We leave tomorrow and we have prepared a lot for this hearing that is very important for the two players. We are quietly confident of having the suspensions removed,” Aamir’s lawyer Shahid Karim said.
Aftab Gul, who is representing Salman Butt, said though the ICC had submitted a detailed charge sheet against his client, there were lacunae that would be discussed at the hearing.
“The main thing is these players have been accused of something nothing is proven as yet and the onus is on the ICC and its anti-corruption unit to convince the independent tribunal that the suspensions should stay,” Gul said.
Gul also said that the Pakistan Cricket Board had also requested the ICC to allow their legal advisor to attend the hearing but the request was turned down.
“The ICC told the PCB that since the case was between the players and the ICC ACU the PCB had no role to play in it,” Gul, a former Test player, said.
But Tafazzul Rizvi, the legal advisor of PCB, denied that they had asked the ICC for permission to attend the hearing.
“I don’t recall us asking for any permission we were apparently notified by the ICC about the hearing and asked if we would send anyone for the hearing,” he claimed.
Sources close to the two players, who were also under investigation by Scotland Yard for their alleged involvement in the fixing, said their lawyers saw a 50-50 chance of having the suspensions lifted immediately at the hearing.
“The problem is that the players are also under investigation by Scotland Yard and until that report comes it seems unlikely the ICC will remove the suspensions.
“And there is no doubt that the players violated the anti-corruption code by not keeping the authorities informed about possible attempts to spot-fix matches on the England tour by their agent Mazhar Majeed,” one source said.
Salman Butt, when contacted, said he would not be making any comments on the hearing anymore and would wait for its outcome.
Yesterday the suspended Test captain had said he was keen to have the suspension removed not only for himself but for the sake of Pakistan cricket.
“These allegations against me are not just about me, they have also hurt the image of Pakistan cricket and that is why I want this suspension removed,” Butt added.