Butt ready to begin rehabilitation process
Salman Butt, the former Pakistan captain, has indicated his availability to the PCB to take part in an anti-corruption rehabilitation program, ESPNcricinfo has learned. Butt met with Pakistan board officials hours after Dave Richardson, the ICC's chief executive, urged him and Mohammad Asif to cooperate with the authorities over their involvement in spot-fixing.
The PCB chairman, Zaka Ashraf, had already hinted at a route back for the banned trio - Butt, Asif and Mohammad Amir - after they have served their bans. Butt met with PCB officials at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Tuesday and offered to complete the anti-corruption education programme, which he is required to participate in to avoid a further five-year suspended sentence becoming active.
Ashraf has given a clear indication that the players are free to try and rebuild their careers in the Pakistan domestic game - once their suspensions have been served - but warned against further transgressions.
Butt, 28, appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for a reduction in his five-year (plus five suspended) ban but the plea was dismissed after the panel wasn't persuaded that the sanction imposed by the ICC's independent tribunal was disproportionate. Butt, however, is optimistic about his future in the game and believes he can make a return to professional cricket after serving the remaining two years and four months of his ban. He will be 30 when the suspension is complete in August 2015.
The independent anti-corruption tribunal, chaired by Michael Beloff QC, found Butt, Asif and Amir guilty of charges relating to spot-fixing at the Lord's Test match between England and Pakistan in August 2010. In addition, Butt was also found guilty of breaching the ICC's anti-corruption code by failing to report an approach made to him by Mazhar Majeed to engage in corrupt activity during The Oval Test match earlier in the same month.
All three were suspended in February 2011 and later given custodial sentences after being tried in the English courts. Butt served seven months of a 30-month prison sentence, Asif was released from prison after serving half of a year-long sentence, while Amir spent three months in a young offenders' institution after admitting his charge at a pre-trial hearing.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here