Banned Butt looks for reduced sentence

Disgraced former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt said Tuesday he was due to appear before the anti-corruption unit of the game’s governing body to try to have his spot-fixing ban relaxed.

The 32-year-old opener was banned for ten years with five suspended conditionally along with Mohammad Asif (seven years with two suspended) and Mohammad Aamer (five years) in a spot-fixing case in England in 2010.

The trio and their agent Mazhar Majeed were also jailed in Britain for receiving money in return for arranging deliberate no-balls during the Lord’s Test against England.

The deal was struck by an undercover reporter of the now defunct tabloid News of the World in a sting operation which shook the cricket world.

In January this year Aamer was allowed to play domestic cricket in Pakistan after the International Cricket Council (ICC) revised its anti-corruption code allowing banned players to make an early return to domestic cricket a few months before their bans expire.

But the Pakistan Cricket Board said Butt and Asif had not completed the rehabilitation processes necessary to allow the relaxation to occur, a claim Butt contests.

“I am fighting to get the relaxation as I have complied with all the regulations so I want to play domestic cricket,” Butt told AFP.

If allowed to play domestic cricket, Butt will become eligible to return to international cricket after his ban expires on September 2 this year.

If the ICC agrees with the PCB’s assessment that Butt has not completed his rehabilitation process, which includes giving lectures to youngsters on the perils of corruption and confess he was the instigator of the deal – it may mean that the five years of his ban that were suspended become activated.

Butt said he has been fighting for the last 24 months.

“I am pleased that the anti-corruption unit of the ICC has summoned me for a meeting which will take place in the next seven to eight days where I will get a chance to have my assessment,” said Butt.

At the time of his ban Butt was seen as a long-term prospect to remain captain, having led Pakistan to a series-levelling win over Australia in their neutral venue series in England in 2010.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said last year that several current Pakistan players have reservations about playing alongside the banned trio once they are cleared.

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