Not so fast Salman

So Salman Butt went round some of the Pakistani TV channels last weekend telling anyone who cared to listen that ICC didn’t have a shred of evidence against him, that they were relying on the NOTW video and that the video dosen’t incriminate him in any way.

Personally, I haven’t bothered to bore myself watching the video. Mainly because I’m not convinced that what I would be watching would be the whole video, rather than just an edited version to make the 3 players look guilty.

What can be taken for certain though, is the fact that the police have now handed a second file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service. So if Butt thinks that all that is going against him is the video, he could be mistaken. His bravado and confidence could be very badly misplaced.

Also, I’m fairly sure that ICC wouldn’t have revealed their own evidence in last weeks hearing, as it had nothing to do with whether Butt was guilty or not. It is naive of Butt to say that.

There is one point on which I will agree with Butt on and that is that he is innocent until proven otherwise, he is maintaining that he is already being presumed guilty, I think that is true of fans and media alike and it is unfair.

"This is Pakistan being cornered.”

Thats the opinion of Salman Butt about ICC after his and Mohammad Amir’s bans were upheld at a hearing in Dubai last weekend.

This wasn’t their actual hearing into match-fixing, it was an attempt by the players to get their suspensions lifted while the investigations into the alledged match-fixing continues.

They have every right to do this, but surely they would have been doing the game of cricket a favour by just letting the investigation take place without any added interference or unwelcome attention.

Butt is also quoted as saying “They listened to us but it felt as if their decision had already been made from before. It was not based on a single piece of evidence. After a 12-hour hearing the only so-called evidence they had was the same News Of The World article and the same video everyone has seen.”

Amir also criticized ICC, saying, “To me it appeared as if this is a conspiracy to defame Pakistan cricket. I am hurt and sad because we want the truth to come out.” That sounds more like the sort of language we would normally get from Ijaz Butt.

Salman Butt’s comments give an indication to the probable make up of the main basis on which his defence will be built. He is basically saying ‘Where is the real evidence?’ It gives the impression that his lawyers have told him that the NOTW video isn’t the strongest or most reliable evidence to build a successful case on.

This is probably why the players are being so brash and confident in their public declarations of innocence. Like in the John Higgins’ match-fixing case in Snooker, it is very hard to prove guilt.

Also, is the NOTW evidence good enough for the Crown Prosecution to get a conviction in the UK? Or have the Police gathered more evidence?

If the answer to these questions in No, then the 3 players must think that they have a great chance of getting off with ICC as well. If the evidence isn’t good enough to find them guilty in a Court of Law, then how can ICC find them guilty?

The answer to that is that ICC’s criteria for a guilty verdict probably isn’t as stringent as a UK Court of Law’s is. Although a ‘Not Guilty’ in UK law, against a ‘Guilty’ verdict from ICC would surely lead to a legal appeal by the 3 players.

Although, again referring back to the John Higgens’ case, there is always the option to fudge the whole thing and hit them with a convenient lesser charge, should the evidence not be strong enough for the match-fixing charge to hold up.

This is where I can see problems ahead for ICC, they really need the British Police to unearth some new damning evidence.

Unfortunately, I don’t expect this sorry episode to be resolved anytime soon!