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June 28, 2013
Salman Butt, the banned former Pakistan captain, has publicly admitted to his part in spot-fixing for the first time and issued an apology. He has also indicated his willingness to participate in PCB and ICC rehabilitation programmes and said he still retains ambitions of returning to international cricket.
Butt was given a five-year ban, with another five suspended, from all cricket by the ICC for his part in a scam during the Lord's Test in August 2010. He also served time in prison in England.
In April, Butt and his former team-mate Mohammad Asif lost their appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for the suspensions to be reduced and Dave Richardson, the ICC's chief executive, called on them to admit their wrongdoing and cooperate with the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU).
"I admit the decision of the ICC tribunal," Butt said in a brief statement to the media in Lahore. "I said it before and am saying again, that to all those who have been disappointed by my actions I do apologise for them. Also, the [negative] effect it had on cricket's integrity, I would like to apologise for that.
"I want to insist, to all those playing and wanting to play cricket, they must stay away from such wrongdoings because it negatively effects them and the game of cricket."
There will be no immediate implication in the wake of the apology. Butt will have to serve the five-year ban, compulsory under the ACSU code. The remaining five years of his 10-year ban is suspended. After the apology he has to start rehabilitation. In addition to doing that, he has to tell the whole truth to the ACSU and PCB. If he can do all that then he could resume playing, provided he has satisfied ACSU and agrees to further monitoring.
Butt also made another request for a softening of his ICC ban, so that he could play domestic cricket before a possible return for Pakistan. Zaka Asraf, the currently suspended PCB chairman, had previously indicated that there could be a route back for Butt and Asif, once their suspensions had been lifted.
"I want to give my availability for any PCB rehab programme and from the ICC," Butt said. "Since I have only two years left of my ban, I request the ICC to allows me to play in domestic cricket. So by the time my ban ends, I can be available for national selection."
Mohammad Amir, the third Pakistan player found guilty of conspiring to bowl deliberate no-balls at Lord's, also served a custodial sentence in England and received a five-year ban from the ICC. The PCB's interim chairman, Najam Sethi, said earlier in the week that he would request that the ICC consider reducing the suspension. Amir is still only 21, while Butt is 28 and Asif 30.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Umar Farooq
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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