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PCB lawyer observes court trial

PCB legal advisor, Tafazzul Rizvi, speaks outside court Getty Images

The spot-fixing trial involving Pakistan players Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif has been adjourned for lunch on the second day with all parties still debating legal arguments. Among those attending the trial is the Pakistan Cricket Board's legal advisor, Tafazzul Rizvi.

Rizvi, who has been on a retainer with the PCB for five years, has attended the first two days of the case at Southwark Crown Court. He is unlikely to stay for the duration, which may be up to five weeks, but will report to the PCB on his findings.

Butt and Asif, who flew in at the weekend from Lahore, are facing the possibility of a custodial sentence if deemed guilty, though both are pleading not guilty. They are facing charges of conspiracy to cheat, and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, following the Lord's Test in August last year when they allegedly conspired to bowl pre-determined no-balls.

"I'm here as an observer on behalf of the PCB," Rizvi told ESPNcricinfo. "When this case started the players were on a central contract with the PCB so that is why we have an interest here. Ironically I was here in London also when the players' hotels rooms were raided by police last year. It was important that I witness a criminal trial involving Pakistan players.

"I'm only concerned with the legal side of things at the PCB not the playing side, so any evidence against them will interest us."

Rizvi also said that ICC rules mean that the players must have independent legal support, therefore he has not liaised directly with the players during the trial or beforehand. The PCB's main aim is to observe the proceedings and learn from what has happened to influence future events or policies.

"As a cricket board we need to find out if anything wrong was done by them. We can't discuss specifics now but any wrongdoing would be reflected in the final judgement."