ICC to appoint independent commissioner to probe spot-fixing

New York: Maintaining that the three tainted Pakistani cricketers have not been punished in the spot- fixing scam, the ICC on Sunday said that an independent commissioner will be appointed to go into the whole issue and the players will be able to put their views before him.

The International Cricket Council would appoint an independent commissioner to look into the charges and any action would be taken on recommendation of the appointed commissioner, ICC president Sharad Pawar said.

The players — Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer — have a right to contest their 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.

“We have not punished anybody yet,” Pawar said. He noted that under the ICC anti-corruption rules, the suspected players needed to be notified and an investigation conducted.

Pawar’s comments came close on the heels of Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan terming the trio’s suspension as a “conspiracy” and blaming the ICC president for it.

“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,” Pawar said.

“This is not an action (the suspension), this is a sort of notice to them and an opportunity to explain,” he said. “If he (the player) is not guilty then certainly he has the right to put his views,” said Pawar.

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

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 related activities until the case has been concluded,” the ICC statement said.

“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 will stop at nothing to protect the sport’s integrity, he said.

“While we believe the problem is not widespread, we must always be vigilant,” Lorgat added.

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