Confused messages in Pakistan cricket crisis
Chaos. That is the only way to describe Thursday morning's turn of events in cricket's spot-fixing affair.
Wednesday night, Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, told the BBC that the three players at the centre of the News of the World betting scam would be free to play in the upcoming Twenty20 and one-day series against England.
Thursday morning, the team's manager Yawar Saeed held an impromptu press conference in Taunton - where Pakistan are playing a warm-up match against Somerset - and completely contradicted him.
With captain Salman Butt and the bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif in London for talks at the Pakistan High Commission, Mr Saaed said on Thursday: "The T20 squad will remain what it is here this morning, ie 13 people. When we play the one-day internationals we will be asking for replacements to make the squad up to 16."
A couple of hours later the Pakistan High Commissioner Wajid Hasan took questions on the steps of the High Commission in Knightsbridge to confirm the decision, saying that while the players were innocent they were in a state of mental torture and had voluntarily withdrawn from the team until they have cleared their name.
While that decision was immediately welcomed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke, it was bemusing to say the least.
But the events of these few hours sum up the difficulties of dealing with Pakistan cricket. One senior official from the International Cricket Council, the sport's world governing body, told me on Wednesday night they will take one position one day - only to perform a complete U-turn hours later.
The most recent example of this is the recall of batsman Mohammad Yousuf half way through the tour of England only a few months after he was banned indefinitely following Pakistan's tour of Australia last winter.
And there was even room for doubt in Mr Saeed's comments on Thursday morning. When asked whether the three players could return to the tour, he replied "if they are innocent they will play on".
Regardless of that, it does now seem that the ICC and the ECB have got the response they wanted from Pakistan.
They were desperate to prevent any further damage to the credibility of this tour by allowing Amir, Asif and Butt to play on as if nothing had happened.
Already there were reports of fans trying to offload their tickets for the series, which starts in Cardiff on Sunday, and the England players were known to feel uncomfortable about playing against them.
So what's gone on behind the scenes?
The ICC and the ECB were adamant on Wednesday night that Ijaz Butt's stance was little more than grandstanding and that Pakistan would eventually have to withdraw the players.
The ECB and the PCB held talks at a central London hotel on Wednesday and it is understood it was made absolutely clear to Pakistan that if they were not pulled out then action would be taken by the ICC.
Mohammad Amir (left), Mohammad Asif (centre) and skipper Salman Butt (right) have been under scrutiny since the allegations broke
The ICC, however, has been attempting to put the brakes on by saying that officers from its Anti-Corruption Unit will not be able to talk to the players until they have been re-interviewed by police. That's due to happen on Friday.
Had Pakistan dug their heels in, the situation was heading for an almighty stand-off. It would have also been a major snub for the ECB chairman Giles Clarke, who has done more than most to throw Pakistan a lifeline by allowing them to play Test matches against Australia in this country because of problems with security at home.
But the far more significant issue is no nearer to being resolved - are members of this Pakistan team - and these three players in particular - part of a betting scam exposed by a Sunday newspaper?
And was this sting evidence of a far deeper corruption inside Pakistan cricket?
Those are the two questions the PCB, the ICC and the police must now focus on.
The Pakistan High Commissioner Mr Hasan suggested the players would go to court to clear their name. Does that mean they are preparing a legal action against the News of the World?
Mr Hasan also said the players were innocent despite the alarming evidence offered by the newspaper - that an agent, Mazhar Majeed, accepted £150,000 in cash in return for making predictions about when no balls would be bowled by Amir and Asif in the Test match at Lord's last week.
Proving the link between Majeed - who is captain Salman Butt's agent - and the behaviour of the players is now the key to this case - and to cricket's future reputation.