Pak trio have opportunity to put their side: Pawar

New York: ICC president Sharad Pawar said the cricket governing body has not yet punished any of the three Pakistan players allegedly involved in spot-fixing and the trio have an opportunity to put their side of story.

Pawar`s comments came a day after Pakistan High Commissioner to UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan termed the trio`s suspension as an conspiracy and blamed the International Cricket Council (ICC) president for the same.

"We have not punished anybody yet," Pawar told reporters.

He noted that under the ICC anti-corruption rules suspected players needed to be notified and an investigation needed to be conducted.

"We have to send a notice to that particular player but that notice is not a final decision. It is a means of giving him (player) an opportunity to explain his position," he said.

Pawar, also India`s Agriculture Minister, was here to inaugurate the North America`s unit of his Nationalist Congress Party.

"This is not an action (the suspension), this is a sort of notice to them and an opportunity to explain," Pawar said.

"If he is not guilty then certainly he has the right to put his views."

The minister further noted the ICC would appoint an independent commissioner to look into the charges and any action would be taken on recommendation of the appointed commissioner.

The players have a right to contest this provisional suspension and a further opportunity to defend the charges at a full hearing before an independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal in accordance with Article 5 of the code.

The Pakistani High Commissioner, earlier, tried to insinuate that Pawar may have had a hand in getting Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir suspended, claiming that ICC was trying to make Pakistan a "scapegoat" for its inefficiency.

However, in a statement, ICC confirmed that the cash-for-no-ball accused "have been officially notified of the offences they are alleged to have committed and have been provisionally suspended pending a decision on those charges."

"In accordance with the provisions of the code, this means they are immediately barred from participating in all cricket and related activities until the case has been concluded."

"We will not tolerate corruption in cricket," ICC`s Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said, adding "we must be decisive with such matters and if proven, these offences carry serious penalties up to a life ban."

"The ICC will do everything possible to keep such conduct out of the game and we will stop at nothing to protect the sport`s integrity. While we believe the problem is not widespread, we must always be vigilant," he added.


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