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Cricket Scandal Sidelines Three Pakistani Players

Pakistani cricketer Salman Butt (R) is escorted by a policeman through a scrum of media outside the Pakistan High Commission in London, 2 Sept. 2010.

The trio of Pakistan players at the center of fixing allegations dominating world cricket will not continue in their series against England.

Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif vowed to clear their names in a meeting in London with Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt and Wajid Hasan, Pakistan's ambassador to Britain.

The scandal began with a grainy video of a man counting cash that a London tabloid, the News of the World, alleges is a cricket agent taking bribes to help fix a cricket match between England and Pakistan. British and Pakistani investigators are looking into three Pakistan cricket team players who are suspected of involvement in the scheme.

Wajid Hasan said the three players maintain their innocence.

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

The International Cricket Council stated it has zero tolerance for corruption.

It has been reported that England's team did not want to play Pakistan if the three men were on the squad.

Pakistan Coach Yawar Saeed said the cricketers have not been banned, but will be replaced for the rest of the tour.

"The investigations are being made by Scotland Yard and ICC and others. All I am talking about is the team that I am managing, Saeed said. "And the team that today is 13 will become 16 again with replacements."

The head of England's Cricket Board, Giles Clarke, welcomed Pakistan's decision about the three players.

"We look forward to an extremely competitive series full of excellent cricket, and we can assure cricket fans across the country that matches will be played in the most competitive spirit long associated with contests between England and Pakistan," Clarke said.

No matter the outcome of the investigations the scandal is creating the perception that something is wrong with cricket, long known here as the gentleman's game.