A lot has happened in the frame of cricket in the past few days. February 04, 2011, saw the news when the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) of the UK announced their intention to charge the Pakistani cricketers for conspiracy, corruption and cheating, along with their agent Mazhar Majeed. Within 24 hours of this news, Michael Beloff of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Special Tribunal announced the decision to impose sanctions on the cricketers declaring them ineligible from the game for a number of years. The sanctions have made Salman, Asif and Aamir ineligible for 10, seven and five years. However, the sanctions on Salman and Asif contain a period of suspended sentence once the initial five-year period is reached. It means that, for instance, when Salman has completed his initial five-year period ban the remaining years may be waived from his sentence, provided that he retains a clean record of no further related offence and completes some probationary courses. The same goes for Asif as well. The ICCs decision is being criticised from all corners. Some are saying that it should have pushed for lesser sanctions, especially on Aamir considering that he is still a young player, while some are simply painting the its decision as another example of bias and prejudice towards Pakistan. There is no cavil about this position that the decision must be very daunting for the players and may have effectively put an end to the players careers. Of course, the players would make every effort to save their integrity and professional career. However, the real test still lays ahead, i.e. UK criminal proceedings by the CPS. Contrary to popular belief, the CPS has not yet technically charged our players. The actual charging or indictment will take place on March 17, during the first hearing date of the case in the City of Westminster Magistrates Court, London. On the said date, the charges will be formally read out to our accused players and if they refuse those charges, the case will then be transferred to the Crown Court of UK for a complete trial, as the Magistrates Court does not have the jurisdiction or authority for this trial considering the seriousness of the charges. The UK judicial system and its procedures are much more refined then our domestic court system. Instead, of lingering on the case and hearing it on for numerous dates without any result, the Crown Court will hold a 'Plea and Case Management Hearing during which it will make preparations for the trial and will announce a date and for how many days it will continue. Then the case will begin and would end when all the proceedings have concluded. However, the Crown Court trials are actually jury-based and the jury is the body making the ultimate decision in the matter. It is here where the actual fault lies in the UK system, and should be the main point of concern for the players The jury members are randomly selected from members of the general public. Thus, a member could be a butcher, shopkeeper, guard or car salesman. Such people would presumably have no knowledge about law and the Crown Court Judge would guide them by issuing legal directions. But given the present circumstances, it seems very much likely that the jury would rule in favour of convicting our national players. The rationale for this approach is the direct influence that the Tribunals decision will have on the minds of the jury members. The ICC and CPS are two different entities, and the scope and dynamic of their respective enquires are very different. However, since the two enquires pertain to the same event; therefore, they are bound to carry certain common elements. When a member will observe that on the same facts and circumstances, a judicial forum (i.e. the ICC Tribunal) has already concluded that our players are guilty, theyll have little hesitation in giving the same verdict once again against them. Thus, after the ICCs decision, a guilty verdict against our players in the Crown Court seems inevitable. And if this is the situation, then our players can face up to a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment and/or unlimited fine by the court according to the law. The CPS has already indicated their intention to extradite our players to UK if they fail to appear for the trial. Although, a guilty verdict by the ICC has jeopardised the cricketing career of our players, but a same verdict by the Crown Court may actually put our players behind bars, and may have serious implications on their personal life. Thus, in these circumstances, they should certainly avail the remedy to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, and try to overturn the ICCs verdict. Otherwise, the situation looks very gloomy for our players. It seems that a lot still remains to happen in the cricketing frame The writer is a practising barrister and a research fellow of the Research Society of International Law, Pakistan. Email: hassannawaz@rsilpak.org