Butt still aims to play again
Salman Butt, the former Pakistan captain, has accepted that he will now have to serve the rest of his ICC ban after his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was rejected although he remains determined to resume his career in little more than two years.
"I have already served two years and eight months and after another two years and four months and I can still play," Butt told reporters at Model Town Green Ground in Lahore, the place where he started playing cricket. Wearing a black polo shirt and blue jeans, he looked far more confident than in his previous public appearance when he returned home after serving seven months in prison.
"I want to play cricket and getting the appeal was the only hope," he said. "I wasn't more than 50 percent sure that the decision would come in my favour, but still there was a hope that I would be able to reduce my ban but now there is no way other than completing rest of my ban."
Butt was given a 10-year ban for his part in the 2010 spot-fixing controversy, five years of which were suspended on condition that, throughout that period, he commits no further breach of the ICC code and that he participates, under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board, in a programme of anti-corruption education.
However, while Butt "accepted the ban" he to discuss any wrongdoing and shunned away any questions about admitted his part in spot-fixing. "I am here to talk about rejected appeal and not the case," he insisted. "Our stance which was on day one, is the currently the same."
ESPNcricinfo understands that if during the first five years of the ban Butt doesn't take part in any educational programme the suspended five years will come into effect. Suspension can be waved only on the condition if he takes part in a PCB anti-corruption education programme. "What I know from my lawyer is that only five years out the ten are effective and I have already spent half of it," Butt said.
He then cited the age of current Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq as a sign that he will have a chance to resume his career. "In the remaining time I want to work hard," he added. "Obviously it's a struggling time but it's always great to rise after fighting with tough times. The captain of the Pakistan team is 39 years old...I will be 30 when I serve the ban in two years time so I don't find any reason not to play cricket."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here