D-day for the three Pakistan cricketers suspended over allegations of spot-fixing, has been postponed to Feb 5th. That's the day when the tribunal committee which oversaw the hearing in the case held between Jan 6 and 11, will hand down their verdict to the tainted trio.
The tribunal had not arrived at a verdict at the end of the six-day period because, as the statement of the committee explained, it had to "to reserve any decision on the charges, until it (the tribunal) has had sufficient time to give the issues careful consideration and until it is able, at the same time as handing down its decision, to provide written reasons."
The players continue to face corruption charges in various capacities relating to two Tests that Pakistan played against England last summer. The committee also said that the players would remain
under provisional suspension from cricketing activities.
Until Jan 11th, the verdict was expected to be handed out immediately after the hearings concluded. But the magnitude of the likely penal action - which range from five years to a lifetime ban - the sustained efforts of the players' lawyers to defer a verdict and the sheer weight of a six-day, 45-hour proceeding which featured oral and written testimonies and tapes as well as forensic submissions, made a quick verdict unimaginable given the circumstances.
The hearings began on Thursday Jan 6 and were conducted under extreme privacy. Reportedly, several glaring differences cropped up in the testimonies of Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif pertaining to the alleged deliberate no-ball the latter bowled at the Oval last Aug. Asif claims the illicit action came as a result of instructions from Salman Butt, whereas Butt denies the same.
In another related development, Asif has apparently been acquitted of his outstanding charges as
stated by his London-based legal firm. The particular charge against Asif states that the code "prohibits providing or receiving any gift, payment or other benefit (whether of a monetary value or otherwise) in circumstances that the Player or Player Support Personnel might reasonably have expected could bring him/her or the sport of cricket into disrepute."
The charge, which could spawn a penalty of a six-month ban, appears a minor one compared to the
other charges that Asif is facing. But the acquittal is thought to stem from the fact that no money was
found in Asif's hotel room in London during police investigations. However, the head of the tribunal committee, Michael Belloff, says that all charges only remain under consideration right now.