Leicestershire 'bemused' at wife-beater connection

Mustafa Bashir will not be taking up a contract at Grace Road, despite reports PA Photos

Leicestershire County Cricket Club have declared themselves "bemused" at reports that a convicted wife-beater will be taking up a professional contract with the club after being spared a jail sentence.

Mustafa Bashir, 34, who plays for a local league in Oldham, was handed an 18-month suspended sentence at Manchester Crown Court after being found guilty of assaulting his wife, including beating her with a cricket bat and forcing her to drink bleach in a bid to kill herself.

In mitigation, Bashir's lawyer Hugh McKee had stated in court that "if he is allowed to keep his liberty, he will be employed by Leicestershire as a professional. He was about to sign the contract when he was arrested." This assertion was later repeated by Judge Mansell QC during sentencing.

However, in a statement, Leicestershire rubbished any alleged connection.

"Leicestershire County Cricket Club are aware of stories that have been published this morning regarding Mustafa Bashir," the club wrote.

"The club are bemused by these stories. Any references to Mustafa Bashir signing or being approached to sign for Leicestershire County Cricket Club are completely false. The club have never spoken to Mustafa Bashir or an agent, nor offered a contract to the player."