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Pakistan's ex-cricketers are lining up to condemn a delay in the spot-fixing verdict. Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Rashid Latif, and Sarfraz Nawaz have all joined the chorus. Yet they miss the point. It matters little whether or not these players are available for the next World Cup. How important is that tournament when the integrity of cricket and future of cricketers is at stake?
Above all, the verdict that Michael Beloff and his team reach must be a considered one based on the evidence that has been presented to them. They will understandably take some time to digest the events in Doha. At the end of that deliberation the verdict must be one that can be substantiated. Any verdict against the players will inevitably meet with an appeal, most likely against a process which the players and their legal representatives have already muttered about.
On the face of it -- and a behind-closed-doors hearing doesn't present much of a face --punishments can be expected. Salman Butt, in particular, must be dreading a life ban. Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir will be hoping that they have sufficiently distanced themselves from any evidence of corruption. But the ICC is clearly in no mood to allow the players to escape. If any of the players emerges with a career that can be rescued, Pakistan fans should consider that a bonus.
The players and the cricket world are in limbo until 5th February while lawyers mull what they have heard. In their hearts most Pakistan fans wish that Amir, at least, is somehow innocent. But smoke signals from Doha have not been encouraging, and the players look to have only earned a stay of execution.
The best supporters of Pakistan cricket, however, can only want a fair verdict. If any corrupt players are lost to international cricket then so be it.
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets hereFeeds: Kamran Abbasi
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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi