Cricket - Asif ban may be overturned - lawyer

The lawyer for disgraced Pakistan seamer Mohammad Asif is "reasonably optimistic" his five-year ban for spot-fixing will be overturned at a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing on Thursday.

PA Sport
Cricket - Banned Pakistan bowler Asif robbed in Lahore
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Mohammad Asif was found guilty of deliberately bowling no-balls

London-based barrister Ravi Sukul will fly to Switzerland to front Asif's appeal to CAS. Asif and team-mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were suspended from all forms of cricket by the ICC in February 2011 after they were found guilty of deliberately bowling no-balls - as part of an illegal betting network - during the Lord's Test against England in August 2010.

Sukul has revealed to Press Association Sport that he will, however, attempt to "completely quash" Asif's playing ban in an argument set to focus on the ICC's handling of the case. Sukul is set to claim the ICC should have waited until after the criminal proceedings against the three players was finalised before delivering their sanctions.

All three were subsequently jailed in November 2011 after they were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat and accept corrupt payments at a Southwark Crown Court trial in London.

"I will approach the court with an argument that their (the ICC's) procedure was flawed. This will be the basic tenor of what I will say to them," Sukul told Press Association Sport.

"I am reasonably optimistic of a favourable outcome in this appeal.

"The appeal has been launched on a legal basis.

"The ICC were in a position they had never been in before. They had never been a position where a cricketer faced criminal proceedings while they (the ICC) were deciding sanctions for a player.

"They opted to hold proceedings before a criminal trial in the UK.

"On common-sense grounds the fact that it happened here in the UK would give legal procedural precedent over the ICC. The ICC decided off its own back to prosecute."

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