Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt happy ICC is investigating T20 Ajman League

Denzil Pinto 17:23 31/01/2018
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Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has said he played in the T20 league in Ajman and is happy that it’s being investigated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after realising there “were a lot of flaws”.

On Tuesday, the ICC opened a probe into the T20 Ajman All Stars League, which was played last month after a video went viral on the internet.

In a series of clips from one match, televised on Neo Sports, batsmen, who have not been identified, appear to deliberately get themselves dismissed when attempting to run between wickets.

ECB confirmed the tournament was not “approved” and sanctioned by either themselves or the Ajman Cricket Council.

Butt, who served a five-year ban between 2010-16 for match-fixing, confirmed he played in two matches of the league.

“I went there as I was not picked for the national regions one-day cup by Lahore and I was doing nothing. But when I reached there I realised it was just an amateur level event which had no match referee, ICC anti-corruption representative or even scorers,” Butt told PTI.

“Since the spot-fixing scandal, I try to stay away as far as possible from any related controversies. I am happy the ICC is investigating the event because they were lot of flaws in it. But I played just two games and than went away to Dubai.”

He added: “They told me it was a private tournament and not sanctioned so no NOC was required to play. When I went there I realised it was just a badly managed street level event and it made no sense to me.”

Meanwhile, ECB board member Zayed Abbas reiterated they will always have a strong stance and not tolerate any suspicious activities in the UAE.

“There’s nothing I can add to this.  I don’t know what to say because this was unsanctioned cricket and not approved by Emirates Cricket Board,” he said. “Once we found out, we highlighted it and reported it to the ICC.

“When this incident happened, we took the right action and informed the authority and that was the ICC. This is the action we will continue to take every time. That’s the same as what any other cricket board would do.”

The Ajman Ovals, where the matches were played, is now longer affiliated to Ajman Cricket Council and Abbas reiterated it’s up to the Cricket Councils to be responsible for any matches played in their Emirate.

“The domestic tournaments are held under the Emirates Cricket Board. Some of the tournaments are done privately by private ground owners or organisations. Some of these things (unsanctioned cricket) keep on happening,” Abbas added.

“This one became a big issue because it was televised on some networks. Our authorities are already aware of this and the Cricket Councils are the ones responsible for cricket in their Emirate. Ajman Cricket Council took action with the rules being clear.”

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