Deferred ruling offers hope to suspended cricketers

An International Cricket Council tribunal's decision to defer it verdict until next month offers renewed hope to fast bowler Mohammad Amir, one of three Pakistani cricketers suspended in a spot-fixing scandal.

An ICC tribunal's decision to defer the spot-fixing verdict until next month will give renewed hope to suspended Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir, his lawyer said Thursday.

Shahid Karim, who represented Amir at the International Cricket Concil's anti-corruption tribunal in Doha, was confident the player will be exonerated when its decision is announced on Feb. 5.

"The last day of the [six-day] hearing was very positive," Karim said.

The three-man tribunal, headed by Michael Beloff, deferred its verdict as it wanted to deliberate after 45 hours of exhaustive hearings.

"It could be a silver lining for us," said Karim, who had also requested a delay of the ruling on Tuesday.

Three Pakistan players — Amir, Mohammad Asif and former captain Salman Butt — were suspended last September after a British tabloid alleged they accepted payments for bowling prearranged no-balls in a test against England.

The latest spot-fixing case against the Pakistan trio has been described as the biggest in cricket over the last decade, an the player could be banned for life if found guilty.

Karim said the tribunal had exonerated Amir from the spot-fixing charges in the Oval test against England, with only the spot-fixing charge from the Lord's test remaining.

If the players are found guilty, they could challenge the ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but Karim was not looking that far ahead.

"I haven't yet thought about that, I hope he [Amir] will be exonerated next month when the verdict will be announced," he said.