ICC delays spot-fixing verdict until next month

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The Independent Online

The verdict on the three Pakistani cricketers facing spot-fixing charges has been delayed until 5 February, Michael Beloff QC, chair of the International Cricket Council's three-man tribunal confirmed yesterday.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have spent the last six days at an anti-corruption tribunal answering charges relating to allegations of accepting payment for bowling no-balls at pre-arranged times in the fourth Test against England at Lord's last August. The tribunal came to an end yesterday as both sides gave their closing arguments.

"The tribunal has throughout been very conscious of the importance of these proceedings to the three players and to the wider world of cricket," Beloff said. "The tribunal has therefore determined to continue its deliberations and will hold a further hearing in Doha on 5 February this year, at which its decisions will be handed down to the parties and any consequential matters will be dealt with."

Meanwhile, Australia's chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, will not step down despite mounting criticism against him following their Ashes defeat. Hilditch, whose contract runs out in April after the World Cup, said yesterday that Cricket Australia would have to relieve him of his duties rather than walking away himself.

Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin joined the critics this week when he described his omission from the Twenty20 squad to play England as "odd" while claiming Hilditch had not spoken to him about the reasons for being overlooked in favour of Tim Paine.

Hilditch denied Haddin's claims yesterda and insisted he wanted to keep his job.