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The tainted trio left high and dry!
Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Aamer have been found guilty of corruption, hence have been punished severely by facing ban from five to ten years. The verdict is quite clear that ICC wants to keep the game of cricket clean.
THE THREE Pakistani cricketers- Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer have been found guilty of corruption, hence have been punished severely by facing ban from five to ten years. The verdict is quite clear- the International Cricket Council (ICC) wants to keep the game of cricket clean and any infringement or misconduct will no longer be tolerated. ICC made its stance clear while handing out severe punishment to the tainted Pakistani trio for their indecent practice of spot fixing. Michael Beloff, the head of the ICC tribunal announced the verdict after a marathon nine-hour hearing in Doha on Saturday (February 5, 2011).

While Butt has been banned for 10 years, the fast bowlers Asif and Aamer have been banned from playing international cricket for seven and five years respectively. All the three cricketers had been undergoing suspension right since the story of their alleged involvement in spot fixing emerged during the Lord’s Test against England last year in Britain's News of the World newspaper.

Earlier, last month the announcement of the verdict had been deferred after members of the tribunal heard the case for six days. In a separate development on Friday (February 4, 2011), British prosecutors charged the three players as well as bookie Mazhar Majeed with corruption offences and subsequently have been summoned to appear in a London court on March 17. The players' lawyers requested the verdict to be adjourned as it could prejudice the criminal case, but the Tribunal decided to end the months of uncertainty without any further delay.

This is seen as a major jolt not only to the tainted trio but to the Pakistan cricket as a whole, as all the three players had promising careers ahead. Speaking over the Tribunal’s verdict, Beloff said, “The Tribunal found that the charges under Article 2.1.1 of the (ICC) code that Asif agreed to bowl and did bowl a deliberate no ball in the Lord's Test match played between Pakistan and England from 26 to 29 August 2010. Aamer agreed to bowl and did bowl two deliberate no balls in the same Test, and Butt was party to the bowling of those deliberate no balls, were proved.”

Butt’s career who is 26 years of age seems to be all but over taking into account the period of ban imposed upon him. However, he may return to the cricket field earlier as the five years out of total ten are suspended on condition that he commits no further breach of the code and that he participates under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in a programme of anti-corruption education.

A statement released by ICC in that regard said, “We, therefore, impose the following sanctions: On Butt’s ten years ineligibility, five years of which are suspended on the condition that he doesn’t commit further breaches of the code, and that he participates under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board in a programme of anti-corruption education. "

“On Asif a sanction of seven years of ineligibility, two years of which are suspended on the condition that he commits no further breach of the code and also participates in an anti-corruption programme. On Aamer a sanction of five years ineligibility has been imposed. No further sanctions are imposed on any player," the statement added. The players have, however, the option of appealing against the verdict within 21 days in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland.

With the ICC World Cup round the corner, the verdict clearly sends across a message that there is no place for corruption in the game and those found of breaching the ethics will have to face the music.

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