'Pakistan withdrew tainted trio on ICC advice'
Pakistan withdrew Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif from the tour of England on the advice of the International Cricket Council, a source in the team said on Thursday.
"The PCB chairman, Ijaz Butt, was advised by the ICC to not consider the three players for selection until the investigations into alleged spot-fixing during the recent Test series against England are completed," the source said.
Pakistan High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan told reporters in London the trio had asked to be withdrawn from matches against England because of the 'mental torture' they had undergone.
The source said the Pakistan Cricket Board was told in clear terms that the ICC could not have the three playing when they are still under investigation and their presence could cause problems for the England and Wales Cricket Board and bring into question the credibility of the matches.
Pakistan is due to play two T20 matches and five one-day internationals against England from Sunday.
Image: Salman Butt arrives at the Pakistan High Commission in London on Thursday
'Sensible move to drop the three'
Former Test captains Aamir Sohail and Zaheer Abbas backed the decision to drop the three.
"I think it is a sensible move because in their presence people would have serious doubts whether the results in the one-day series were fair," Sohail said.
Abbas said the decision to sideline the players would increase the credibility of the PCB and highlight their intent on having zero-tolerance on corruption in cricket.
"If the players are proved innocent, the PCB can say we played our role in this fight against corruption," he said.
The source said that the three players are also due to be questioned by Scotland Yard officers in London again on Thursday.
Image: Pakistan manager Yawar Saeed before the match against Somerset on Thursday
'Replacements could be from outside the standbys'
A PCB spokesman in Lahore said that the Pakistan management has so far not called for any replacements.
"If we get a request to send replacements for the one-day series they will be sent immediately. But I think the situation now is that we wait for the report of the investigations into the allegations to come out," said media manager Nadeem Sarwar.
He said there is no time frame given for the investigation to be completed.
A national selector said the replacements might be from outside the four standbys named for the one-day series.
The selectors while announcing the one-day squad earlier this month had named wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, batsman Asad Shafiq, pace bowler Muhammad Irfan and left arm spinner Abdul Rehman as the standbys.
"We might have to pick someone from outside the standbys as we require an opener and two pace bowlers," said the selector, who declined to be named.
Image: Kamran Akmal watches from the players' balcony at Somerset