Cricket 'in my veins and blood' - Butt
Salman Butt said he was "grateful" to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for hearing the appeal against his ICC bans and retained hope that he could return to playing the sport that "runs through me in veins and my blood."
Butt's hearing in Switzerland followed that of his former team-mate Mohammad Asif yesterday and the pair will now have to wait to hear that outcome as to whether their bans - 10 years for Butt and seven for Asif with suspended periods - will be lifted or reduced. A decision is expected in three weeks but could take longer. CAS hearings are held in private.
"I am grateful to the CAS that they have allowed me this opportunity to appeal this sentence," Butt said in a statement released after a day-long hearing. "Since September 2010, until now, I have not been able to play any meaningful game of cricket: to coach or to even be involved in the administration of the game.
"I love cricket: it is something that runs through me in my veins and my blood. I await the decision of the CAS. It means so much to me. I truly pray that they can change it for me by reducing the sentence."
Butt's lawyers added in a statement: "We are certain that the Panel will consider our legal submissions and the material facts of this case carefully when reaching their verdict. There is only one outcome that can be positive for Salman and us - he must be allowed to play cricket now. We can then say that justice has truly been served."
Butt, Asif and Mohammad Amir - who is not contesting his ban - were exposed by a News of the World sting in 2010 over bowling deliberate no-balls in the Lord's Test against England. The trio were also jailed after a criminal trial in the UK.