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September 27, 2010
Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, the Pakistan players provisionally suspended by the ICC following spot-fixing allegations, have been selected as reserves by their regional sides for a domestic Twenty20 tournament likely to be staged in October. Rawalpindi picked Amir, Lahore selected Butt, and Asif was included by the defending champion Sialkot.
The ICC suspended the trio following an undercover operation by the News of the World, during which Mazhar Majeed - allegedly a player agent - claimed Asif and Amir had bowled deliberate no-balls against England at Lord's, and that Butt was also involved. The trio is currently awaiting the dates for their ICC hearing as well as a decision by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service as to whether a criminal case will go ahead against them.
It is unlikely, however, that any of them will actually take part in the tournament. According to the anti-corruption code of conduct, the trio will not be able to play unless the ICC clears them; the tournament is due to begin mid-October.
"No player or player support personnel who is the subject of any provisional suspension may, during the period of any provisional suspension, play, coach or otherwise participate or be involved in any capacity in any international match or (any other kind of match, function, event or activity, other than authorised anti-corruption education or rehabilitation programs) that is authorised, organised, sanctioned, recognised or supported in any way by the ICC, a National Cricket Federation or any member of a National Cricket Federation," the code reads.
Rawalpindi chief Naeem Akhtar admitted Amir playing is unlikely. He told the Associated Press, "If Amir gets cleared before the Twenty20 tournament and we do not submit his name to the PCB for it, we could not play him in the tournament," he said.
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