Pakistan's Asif withdraws ICC ban challenge

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The Independent Online

Mohammad Asif, one of the three Pakistan cricketers at the centre of an International Cricket Council (ICC) spot-fixing investigation, has withdrawn an appeal against his provisional suspension.

Seam bowler Asif was provisionally suspended by the game's governing body alongside Test captain Salman Butt and new-ball partner Mohammad Amir after the ICC initiated an investigation into newspaper allegations that the trio had acted in association with illegal bookmakers during their summer tour of England.

All three took up the option of appealing their bans and their cases were due to be heard in Doha on 30-31 October. Butt and Amir have not followed Asif's lead and their hearings will now go ahead as planned.

It is almost two months since the spectre of corruption revisited Pakistan cricket, with News of the World reports claiming that Amir and Asif had bowled no-balls on request during the fourth Test at The Oval, with Butt orchestrating events as captain.

A Scotland Yard investigation followed and all three had their mobile phones confiscated by police investigators.

The Pakistan High Commissioner, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, announced following a meeting with the trio on 2 September that they proclaimed their innocence but, following the Pakistan Cricket Board's refusal to impose its own sanctions, the ICC swiftly moved to impose their own provisional sentence.

England are to face Ireland in a one-day international in Dublin next August. The two sides, who met in Belfast last year, when England won by three runs, will meet in Clontarf on 25 August.

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