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Khalid Latif to contest fixing charges

LAHORE: Pakistan batsman Khalid Latif will contest spot-fixing charges against him, his lawyer said Friday, in an ongoing scandal which has tainted Pakistani cricket and threatened years of work to clean up the country’s image.

The 31-year-old is one of five players under investigation in the case, which surfaced during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) held in February-March this year.

Latif appeared before a tribunal in Lahore today. His lawyer Badar Alam told media outside that they would contest the charges “because no one can be convicted on presumptions”.

Spot-fixing, an illegal betting practice, has been rife in Pakistan cricket in recent years. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials have vowed zero tolerance in the current case, saying they have solid evidence.

Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, 34, became the first culprit to be punished when he confessed Wednesday to the only charge against him, of “not reporting an offer of fixing”.

He was banned for one year, including six months suspended.

Latif and Sharjeel Khan — both openers for Pakistan’s Twenty20 team — were provisionally suspended and expelled from the PSL in Dubai on February 10 on charges of meeting a suspicious man linked to an international betting syndicate.

Sharjeel faces five charges on counts relating to fixing and failure to report it. Latif faces the same charges with an additional sixth charge of attempting to lure other players to fixing.

The charges against them could result in a life ban.

Sharjeel appeared before the tribunal last Friday and is also likely to contest the charges.

Two other former Pakistan openers, Nasir Jamshed and Shahzaib Hasan, were also suspended in the case.

Jamshed, who allegedly played the link between the players and bookies, was arrested along with an unnamed man in Britain in February, but both were released on bail until April.

A two member PCB legal team will go to Britain to question Jamshed next week.

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