Three people arrested over reported links to Pakistan cricket betting scandal.
|No joke: BoomBoom is suspending its relationship with Mohammad Amir [GALLO/GETTY]|
The Pakistan players at the centre of a betting scandal that has rocked international cricket will miss their next match as they travel to answer questions from the country’s High Commissioner.
Captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammed Amir and Mohammad Asif may also be charged with treason at home if a petition lodged with the Lahore High Court is successful.
The three have left their team’s base in Taunton in England’s West Country, where they were preparing for Thursday’s match against Somerset ahead of a one-day series with England.
Revelations of alleged “spot-fixing” emerged in the final Test against England on Sunday – a match which the visitors lost by a record score.
Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed told journalists on Wednesday that a meeting with the Pakistan High Commissioner in London would take place the next day.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt will also attend the meeting to discuss the newspaper allegations that players had been bribed to bowl deliberate no-balls in the fourth Test at Lord’s.
The three players should be free to rejoin the squad on Friday, two days before the tourists’ first Twenty20 game against England.
There is another Twenty20 scheduled, as well as five one-day internationals.
On Tuesday, the PCB announced they would hold an internal investigation into the allegations while the Lahore High Court has summoned the PCB chairman, the federal sports minister and seven players to hear a petition calling for the players to be charged with treason.
British police and customs officials are also investigating.
The fallout from the scandal looks set to hit the players in the pocket too as BoomBoom, the official kit supplier to the Pakistan cricket team, suspended its commercial relationship with teenage fast bowler Amir on Wednesday.
BoomBoom managing director Ali Ehsan said in a statement that the company was also reviewing its position as the official supplier to the PCB.
Ehsan said the decision to suspend the relationship with Amir did not imply any judgment on the allegations.
“We cannot allow our brand to be associated with any whiff of corruption or suspicion of foul play,” he said.
“While the suspension of our commercial involvement with Mohammad Amir is not a step we take lightly, we nevertheless feel that it is the right thing to do while a judicial process unfolds and innocence or guilt is established.”
Fellow bowler Asif’s hopes of appearing in an Indian film in which he was supposed to play a cricket coach also look in doubt.
“If he is guilty, I cannot take him in the film as it will impact public sentiment and the success of the film,” director Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri told the Reuters news agency.
“I cannot blame Asif unless he is proven guilty, but I cannot wait much longer.”