The UAE was abuzz today with the Pakistan cricket team involved in several engagements.
While Pakistan's ODI squad trained at the Sheikh Zayed cricket stadium in the capital city of Abu Dhabi, Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer were busy with their lawyers and the ICC Code of Conduct Commission at the ICC Headquarters in Dubai. The two players, suspended for their alleged involvement in spot fixing, were there for the first day of hearings for their appeals against the suspension.
This whole situation regarding the players' suspension and ICC hearings seems a bit peculiar to me. The hearings will not lead to proving the innocence or guilt of either Salman or Aamer - then what exactly is the point?
As far as I understand it, the conclusion of the hearings will result in ICC making the decision of whether the players can resume their cricket careers or not. The players were suspended because the ICC felt that they had violated ICC's anti-corruption code, and now the players are appealing against that and trying to prove that they did not violate the code.
So if the hearings conclude that the players did not violate the code then does it not mean that they are innocent? At the same time if the suspensions remain, then does it not mean that the players are guilty?
Logical reasoning would lead anyone to that conclusion. Yet, it won't and I don't really understand why.
There is another investigation that is undergoing - the police are involved, however charges have not been pressed yet. Wouldn't ICC's verdict after these two days of hearings have a bearing on the decision of the other case?
What happens if the ICC clears the players, but the police charges them? Or if the ICC does not clear them but the police drops all the charges?
For sanity to prevail, both the verdicts need to be the same. Which means that ICC's verdict will surely have a bearing on the overall verdict. Yet the innocence or guilt of the players will not be decided after tomorrow.
Are you as confused as I am?
The statements that Salman and Aamer have given over the last few days indicate that the players are confident about being cleared. Salman has blamed Mazhar Majeed for exaggerating and also defended his association with the player agent. Aamer has been less vocal, yet silently confident of being cleared.
I'm not really sure how these hearings are going to go down, but I just feel the ICC acted in this manner because the world spoke of how ineffective their Anti Corruption Unit was / is. Since they had not been able to do much in eradicating the menace of match / spot fixing, they went ahead and suspended the players to show that they are not a toothless body.
I don't know if the players are innocent or guilty, but its for the police and the courts to decide that, not the ICC. The ICC have put themselves in a difficult position and probably the only way out for them is to clear the players, and sit back for the verdict from the police case.
Maybe that's the reason for the confident statements from Salman and Aamer.