LAHORE: Pakistan cricket authorities yesterday set out a path for spot-fixing convicts Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif to return to the international game, but effectively ruled out any chance of them playing in next month’s national event. Butt and Asif attended a lecture from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officer on vigilence and corruption as the first step in a rehabilitation process towards playing at domestic level. “The two players were invited to a lecture on anti-corruption as part of their rehabilitation,” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan told AFP. “Under the process they will have to attend lectures, accept guilt at various forums, show remorse and give lectures to future players,” he said.
In a statement issued later in the day, the PCB said the players will not be able to use the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and will be barred from practising with players from the national team. In 2011, the International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Butt, Asif and Mohammad Amir for five years over a spot-fixing case happened during Pakistan’s tour to England a year earlier.
The three players-along with their agent Mazhar Majeed-were charged and later jailed for arranging deliberate no-balls in return for money during the Lord’s Test against England. The ICC lifted sanctions on Butt and Asif last week, making them eligible for domestic and international cricket from 2 September this year. Amir’s sanctions were lifted in January after the ICC amended its code of conduct, a reward for the young paceman who pleaded guilty during the criminal proceedings in UK in November 2011. Khan said PCB will monitor Butt and Asif’s progress at a lower level, just as it did for Amir.
Both Butt and Asif were included in the Lahore and Sialkot teams for the National Twenty20 event starting in Rawalpindi from 1 September this year. Asif said he has agreed to complete the rehabilitation course the PCB has set out for him. “Of course, its a detailed process but I will try to complete it as soon as possible and agree to it. I will play at lower level and then in first-class cricket,” he told reporters. —AFP