Tainted trio could be back for ODIs: Pak Sports Minister

Karachi: Even as Pakistan Manager Yawar Saeed announced end of England tour for the tainted trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir, Sports Minister Aijaz Jakhrani on Thursday said the players may play the one-day series.

Jakhrani was also not keen to use the word ‘dropped’ and said the trio was just ‘unavailable’ to play in the Twenty20 series against England.

Jakhrani said the three players, who allegedly took money from a bookie to bowl no balls during the Lord’s Test against England last week, will be in London to “cooperate” with the Scotland Yard’s investigation into the ‘spot-fixing’ scandal.

“They are not playing because they have probably gone to answer the investigating team. They are not at the venue where the matches are being held, so they would not be playing. Probably they will not play Twenty20 matches but they might be back for the one-dayers,” Jakhrani said.

“The information that I have received is that they have gone to London to answer some questions and that is why they are not playing in the Twenty20 matches,” he added.

Saeed though had said a little while ago that they will seek replacement of the players after the T20 series, which will begin on Sunday.

The Minister said action against players would be taken only if the three are proved guilty by the Scotland Yard.

“This has been the stance of the government. We are waiting for investigations reports to come, only then we will decide on taking action,” he said.

The allegations have not been proved and the charges have not been pressed yet. We will not take any action until the charges are proved,” he said.

Asked whether the Scotland Yard had given any evidence of the players’ involvement in the scandal that has plunged the game into a crisis, Jakhrani said “concrete proof” was yet to be given.

“At the moment I have been told that there is no clear evidence that has been given by the Scotland Yard. They haven’t shown anything. We all are waiting for the investigation report to come,” he said.

“After that, we will be in a position to say whether it is spot-fixing, match-fixing or a conspiracy because there are reports that there has been a conspiracy against young talent Mohammad Aamir,” he said.