Pak trio suspended
British police Friday questioned one of three Pakistani cricketers embroiled in betting scam claims, as the sport's governing body said it had suspended the trio because they had a "case to answer".
Bowler Mohammad Aamer arrived at a police station near the "home of cricket", Lord's in north London, and detectives are also expected to quiz Test captain Salman Butt and Aamer's fellow bowler Mohammad Asif on Friday.
Shortly afterwards, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said it had acted as soon as it could to charge the trio with "various offences" under its anti-corruption code and to suspend them pending a decision on those charges.
"The conclusion that we have come to is that there is a really arguable case to answer," Ronnie Flanagan, chairman of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, told a press conference at the Lord's ground.
The former Northern Ireland police chief said the players had been charged under Article 2 of their code and the trio knew the specific charges against them, but declined to go into details.
Article 2 relates to offences under the code, including corruption, betting and misuse of inside information.
Calling it a complex investigation, he said that if the players were found guilty they could face a life ban.
The charges all relate to the fourth and final Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's, which finished with an England win on Sunday, in which a tabloid newspaper said deliberate no-balls had been bowled.
The sanctions have infuriated the Pakistani authorities, but ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat dismissed the notion that there was a conspiracy against Pakistan.
"There is no truth that there is a conspiracy against Pakistani cricket," Lorgat told the news conference.
The South African expressed his "extreme disappointment and sadness" at the situation, however, and repeated that "we will not tolerate any sort of corruption in the sport."
Pakistani High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan said Friday the ICC had "no business" to suspend them while the police investigation was ongoing. He said Thursday he thought the trio might have been set up.
"I met the cricketers for two hours, cross-questioned them, got to the bottom of it and concluded that they were innocent," Hasan told BBC radio.
The ICC "have done the wrong thing. When there's a live police inquiry, this takes precedence over both the ICC, civil or regulatory investigations and any internal disciplinary investigations."
"The ICC had no business to take this action. The ICC is just playing to the public gallery."
The players withdrew Thursday from Pakistan's tour of England, with Hasan citing "mental torture". They missed Pakistan's eight-run win over county side Somerset the same day.
Pakistan team manager Yawaz Saeed said he was "not happy" about the situation but was trying to focus on his duties ahead of the forthcoming two Twenty20 internationals and five one-day games against England.
"I'm not happy about it, naturally", he said, while insisting that the tour would go ahead. He is due to call up three players as replacements. He declined to name them or say whether batsman Younis Khan was among them.
The players have 14 days to request a tribunal hearing at which they can challenge the charges.