Banned for spot-fixing, Salman, Asif, Aamir dream of comebacks

ICC banned the three players for five years for spot-fixing, all three could possibly return in August 2015.

Afp February 05, 2014
Salman Butt (L), Mohammad Asif (C), and Mohammad Aamir (R) were sentenced on February 5, 2011. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: Pakistan's talented but tainted cricketing trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir on Wednesday vowed to return to international cricket, three years to the day after they were banned for spot-fixing.

On February 5, 2011 an anti-corruption tribunal of the International Cricket Council (ICC) banned the three players for a minimum of five years for arranging no-balls to order during the Lord's Test against England in August 2010.

Butt, 29, the captain of the Pakistan Test team at the time, finally admitted his guilt in June last year and said he wanted to move on from the disgrace.

"I try hard to forget but someone always makes me remember that tough day," Butt told AFP.

Butt was banned for 10 years, with five suspended, Asif for seven with two suspended and Aamer for five years. All of them could return to the game in August 2015.

"I regularly play cricket as I cannot adopt any other profession and I am very, very keen to stage a comeback," said Butt.

The ICC tribunal made rehabilitation, including anti-corruption courses, mandatory to avoid the suspended part of the players' sentence.

West Indian Marlon Samuels is the only player ever to return to international cricket after serving a two-year ban on fixing.

Butt said he wanted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to help him get permission to play first-class cricket.

"The PCB has taken up Aamir's case and I have appealed to them to help me play first-class cricket, as I am very keen to resume my career," said Butt, who played 33 Tests, 78 one-day internationals and 24 Twenty20s for Pakistan.

The ICC last year formed a committee to consider relaxing some of the sanctions of Aamir's ban.

Asif has found a sideline on the silver screen and is about to star in a joint Indian-Pakistani film, but says he wants to return to the game.

"Although I am going to act in the film, my first love is cricket and I am counting the days until my ban is over," Asif, 31, told AFP.

"Cricket will always be part of my life, it's in my blood and I will bowl once again for Pakistan."

Meanwhile 21-year-old Aamer – who was just 19 at the time of the scandal and received a great deal of sympathy – said he was looking forward to returning.

"I train a lot because I cannot think of anything else to do other than playing cricket," he told AFP.

Before the ban, the young left-armed was seen as one of the brightest fast-bowling talents in international cricket.

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s m | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend

This is also a tactic to 'eliminate' competing batmen and bowlers. The ouster of this trio helped whom (at least one batsman and two bowlers vying to get selected in team)? this trio can't even open up their mouth about others who were equally drenched in mud but yet got away! Also only those get caught who don't obey their 'masters' behind the scene who run the show actually. Good example is ....... srisantha! .... About the comeback of this trio???? ..... two bowlers and one batman would have to vacate the place for them!!! ........... That means grudging opponents are already there who won't let their seat being given to this trio!!! ..... So past sin (so called) would haunt this trio. and hence difficult but not impossible comeback unless they fail to show extraordinary competence and cricket still left in them and not dried up by then.

Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend

If we can elect rogues and rascals as Prime Ministers and Presidents of the country, these poor cricketers are small fish. At least they give us exciting cricketing moments.

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