Pakistan pair to learn spot-fix fate today

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The Independent Online

Pakistan cricketers Mohammad Aamer and Salman Butt must wait until today to learn if their suspensions over spot-fixing allegations will be lifted after an International Cricket Council hearing was extended yesterday.

Officials from cricket's governing body said the hearing will now conclude today. "The hearings went on all day," the players' lawyer Khalid Ranjha told reporters after the eight-hour session. "It will continue tomorrow. I can't say anything more about the discussions."

Michael Beloff, who is presiding over the hearing and heads the ICC's code of conduct commission, said: "We are making progress," but declined to elaborate. The proceedings in Dubai are concerned only with the pair's suspensions and whether the ICC followed the correct procedures in imposing them.

The innocence or guilt of the players, who have denied any wrongdoing, will be judged at an independent tribunal, the date of which has yet to be set.

Pace bowler Aamer and the opening batsman Butt were suspended by the ICC on 2 September after being charged with various offences under cricket's anti-corruption code. The bans followed allegations in the News of the World of spot-fixing during last summer's Test series with England. Butt and Amir refused to speak to reporters.

The Pakistan paceman Mohammad Asif was also suspended by the ICC over the same allegations but withdrew his appeal earlier this month in order to give his lawyers more time to prepare a detailed challenge. Asif also denies any wrongdoing.

The reports alleged Aamer and Asif deliberately bowled no-balls to order in a Test against England at Lord's in August, with the involvement of Butt who was then Pakistan captain. British police are also investigating the spot-fixing allegations against the trio.