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    Pakistan players say they are innocent


    by ODN


    Pakistan high commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan has maintained the innocence of the three Pakistan players named in the spot-fixing allegations surrounding the fourth npower Test against England.

    Test captain Salman Butt and opening bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir will play no part in the limited overs leg of the tour, but Hasan insists they have not been suspended.

    "The three players have said that they are extremely disturbed by what has happened in the past week, especially in regard of their alleged involvement in the crime," he said.

    "They mentioned that they are entirely innocent in the whole episode and shall defend their innocence as such.

    "They maintain that on account of the mental torture which has deeply affected them, they are not in the right frame of mind to play the remaining matches.

    "Therefore, they have requested that the Pakistan Cricket Board not consider them for the remaining matches."

    Meanwhile, England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke said the board welcomed the decision to withdraw Butt, Amir and Asif from the rest of the tour.

    "As chairman of the ICC's (International Cricket Council) Pakistan task team I look forward to working with Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board and everyone involved in taking forward cricket in Pakistan," Clarke said in a statement read to reporters.

    Clarke has called for an ICC team to visit Pakistan, which has not hosted international cricket since militant gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in March last year.