Latif to fight PSL corruption charge

Pakistan authorities vow 'zero tolerance' in ongoing T20 corruption scandal as opener Khalid Latif opts to contest charges against him

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 on Friday. 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.

Quick Single: Irfan banned, fined for corruption role

While some former players said Irfan's ban was too lenient, PSL chairman Najam Sethi said the rules were followed.

"Irfan has been punished according to the rules in the code that are in some ways stricter than even ICC (International Cricket Council) rules," Sethi told AFP.

Under the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) anti-corruption code the punishment for "not reporting an offer" is from six months to a life ban.

Sethi said no one will be spared in fixing cases.

"We shall show zero tolerance for such corrupt activities and will continue to monitor players' conduct on and off the field," said Sethi, who is also the chairman of PCB's executive committee.

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.

Pakistan cricket has been rocked by fixing scandals over the past several years.

Former captain Salim Malik and Ataur Rehman were banned for life after an investigation in 2000.

In 2010 then Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were jailed and banned for five years for spot-fixing while leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was banned for life in a spot-fixing case in 2012.