Accused players to return to Pakistan, Butt

Pakistan’s cricket chief Thursday said three players under investigation in Britain for corruption can return home as no charges had been brought against them.

Pakistan Test team captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif have been interrogated by police over claims that they took money to deliberately bowl no-balls against England at Lord’s last month.

“Since the players have not been charged we have informed Scotland Yard that they will be travelling back to Pakistan within the next few days,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt told a press conference.

Seven players fell under suspicion after a newspaper sting targeting the Pakistan team’s alleged spot-fixing, and Butt said a fourth player, Wahab Riaz, would stay in Britain to be interviewed by police.

“We have arranged for his interview as we will continue to cooperate and we want to get to the bottom of the matter,” Butt said.

Butt said the British police raid on the team’s London hotel should not have taken place without the PCB’s knowledge and that money recovered from the accused did not prove their guilt.

“(Salman) Butt got some cash for inaugurating an ice cream parlour and Aamer had 1,500 pounds (2,300 dollars) with him, so that was not incriminating evidences,” he said.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has provisionally suspended captain Butt and bowlers Aamer and Asif for violating a players’ code of conduct over the corruption claims.

Another player, Kamran Akmal, has been informed by the ICC that he is under investigation in relation to Pakistan’s matches in the World Twenty20 in the West Indies in April-May this year, and the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka a month later, Butt said.

Butt criticised the ICC for not informing the PCB of the action before sending notice of the investigation to Akmal.