Pakistan talks continue regarding quartet

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The Independent Online

The four Pakistan players at the centre of allegations of spot-fixing will be the subject of further talks between Pakistan cricket authorities and politicians today.

The Pakistan Cricket Board, London's High Commission for Pakistan and the country's sports ministry in Islamabad are set to hold a conference call to discuss the best way forward regarding Test captain Salman Butt, opening bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.

It is expected the quartet will be asked to withdraw from the forthcoming Twenty20 internationals and one-day internationals, which begin on Sunday at Cardiff.

The weekend's allegations in the News of the World named the four players in connection with a plot to deliberately bowl no-balls to order in the recently concluded fourth npower Test at Lord's.

Mazhar Majeed, a Croydon-based businessman, was subsequently arrested in connection with the matter and questioned for 24 hours before being released without charge on police bail on Sunday evening.

Butt, Asif and Aamer were also interviewed by police at the team hotel and had their mobile phones confiscated.

There have been calls for the players involved to be left out of the side for the remainder of the tour but PCB chairman Ijaz Butt stressed last night that the allegations remain just that, with no charges proven, and therefore there are no immediate plans to suspend the players.

International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat, meanwhile, is seeking a swift resolution to his organisation's investigation into the affair.

Lorgat told Sky News: "I intend to get across to London myself to make sure that such occurrences on Thursday may not transpire, in that we've concluded before then what we have to do.

"But it is evidence we are trying to gather. It is a difficult process, allegations have been levelled - serious ones, if I may say - and we will do our utmost to ensure that before any players who are found to be guilty actually take the field of play, (they) are brought to book."

England spinner Graeme Swann said in his column for the Sun this morning: "I'm very keen for the one-dayers to go ahead. I love one-day cricket and, with nothing proved, I have no problem whatsoever who I play against.

"What I want most is that cricket gets back in the papers for the right reasons - for someone to score an unbelievable hundred or produce a great spell of bowling.

"It's terrible for cricket to have something like this hanging over it. We want a clean game and that's what the spectators deserve."

No media were allowed into Somerset's County Ground at Taunton ahead of today's Pakistan training session as the county, at the request of the England and Wales Cricket Board and the PCB, implemented a complete lockdown on access.