Banned Asif weighs up next move

London, February 7, 2011

Pakistan seamer Mohammad Asif is “considering his response” to being banned from all cricket for a minimum of five years, a statement issued by his lawyers here on Monday said.

An International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-corruption tribunal on Saturday banned former Pakistan captain Salman Butt for ten years (five suspended), Asif for seven years (two suspended) and teenage left-arm quick Mohammad Aamer for five years after a hearing in Doha.

The trio were punished following an expose by Britain’s News of the World tabloid which claimed they were involved in a plot to bowl no-balls deliberately during the fourth Test against England at Lord’s last August.

It was alleged the cricketers had colluded in a spot-fixing betting scam organised by British-based agent Mazhar Majeed.

Butt and Aamer have indicated they wish to appeal against the ICC tribunal’s verdict but Asif is still pondering his next move.

“Mohammad Asif has co-operated fully with the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) investigation and is very disappointed and upset by the decision it reached,” said a statement issued by his London-based lawyers, Addleshaw Goddard, on Monday.

“Together with his legal representatives, he is now considering his response and will not be commenting further due to the ongoing criminal proceedings.”

On Friday, British prosecutors charged the three players as well as Majeed with criminal corruption offences and summoned them to appear in a London court on March 17.

The players have 21 days to appeal against the ICC sanctions at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.