Salman Butt to ask for delay in ICC hearing
Salman Butt's legal team is set to ask for a postponement of the ICC tribunal's hearing into the spot-fixing case, which is scheduled for January. Butt's lawyers will ask for a delayed date during a teleconference on Wednesday, which will be chaired by Michael Beloff QC, who will also head the eventual hearing.
"Butt's legal team want the hearing to be held after the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dealt with the case first, so a teleconference has been arranged for tomorrow," Mohammad Amir's lawyer Shahid Karim told ESPNcricinfo.
The application for the postponement has been made by Butt alone, but lawyers for Amir and Mohammad Asif - the other two players chargesheeted by the ICC in the scandal - will also attend. The ICC hearing is currently due to be held in Doha in Qatar from January 6 to 11.
Independent from the ICC, Scotland Yard are also pursuing a case against the trio in the UK and have handed over evidence to the CPS. The CPS is to determine whether the case is strong enough to warrant a criminal prosecution on charges of a conspiracy to defraud, but since receiving two files of evidence from Scotland Yard - in September and November - no decision has been reached.
In the early days of the case, the PCB repeatedly expressed concern over the two separate investigations being pursued against the players and asked for one to be completed before the other was taken up. But the board has since withdrawn support for the trio.
Following a period of uncertainty where a number of legal teams were involved in representing Butt, Yasin Patel, a London-based barrister, will handle the ICC and Scotland Yard cases for Butt. Until now Butt had been represented by Aftab Gul, a former Test cricketer, and Khalid Ranjha, a former law minister. Gul confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that he is no longer attached to the case and Patel will represent Butt in both cases.
Another legal firm, that of lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, filed a reply on Butt's behalf to the ICC against the charges but those were rejected.
All the while, concern has been expressed by various officials familiar with and involved in the case, about Butt's legal representation; the ICC is said to be unhappy over the leaking to the media of vital evidence handed over to the players' lawyers at an earlier hearing in Dubai over the provisional suspensions imposed on the trio.
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo