Lahore: Pakistan will announce its preliminary squad for next year’s cricket World Cup later this month without considering suspended players Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt on Monday told a press conference here that the suspended trio could not be considered in the preliminary squad until they were cleared by the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.
“We have to submit the preliminary squad of 30 players by November 30 and these players will not be considered until they are cleared,” he said.
Butt also made it clear that PCB was in no way trying to protect or provide any support to the trio, who were suspended by the ICC in early September for their alleged role in spot-fixing during the fourth Test against England at Lords in late August.
Salman Butt and Amir returned home from Dubai on Monday after attending the two-day hearing of ICC’s independent tribunal, which heard and rejected their appeals against their suspensions.
“We are neither supporting these players nor providing them financial assistance. I have even instructed that all payments to them be stopped until they are cleared. They are not even getting their monthly retainers of their central contracts till they are cleared,” PCB chief said.
Butt said there was no doubt that the spot-fixing allegations that erupted during the tour of England had damaged Pakistan cricket.
“We were in final stages of negotiations with Zimbabwe and also with the ICC and MCC to send a world eleven team to Pakistan for revival of international cricket in Pakistan,” he said.
But admitted that after the spot-fixing scandal the process had been affected and delayed.
The PCB Chairman said negotiations for teams to visit Pakistan would now be held after the World Cup.
The spot-fixing saga also came under discussion on Monday in the meeting of the governing council that was chaired by Butt.
Butt said that presently the board had no plans to hold any separate investigation into the spot-fixing allegations.
“Scotland Yard has given its report to the crown prosecutor’s office which now has to come out with its verdict on the allegations and whether the players will be charged,” he said.
He said PCB had requested the Scotland Yard to push things but noted the board could not force the investigative agency to expedite the process.
“The case involving Danish Kaneria took 6 months before he was cleared,” Butt said.
An aggressive Butt told the media that the governing council had discussed the England tour reports of the manager and coach but held no one responsible for the spot-fixing scandal.
“Predicting about spot-fixing taking place is impossible. Can anyone of you say when spot-fixing is taking place? So, how can we blame anyone for this? he asked.
Criticising the national media for being negative during the spot-fixing scandal, he threatened to sue the press in near future for fabricated stories.
“In other countries the media supports its team but in Pakistan this is not the case. It is really disappointing,” the PCB chief said.
He also made it clear that PCB had spoken to lawyers in England about suing the ‘The Sun’ tabloid for the story about Pakistani team indulging in fixing during the third one-dayer against England at the Oval.
“We are in consultation with our lawyers and they are some issues to be sorted out but very soon we will file a case,” Butt added.