KARACHI: Shamed Pakistan cricket stars Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir, both serving long bans for spot-fixing, have turned television pundits for the World Twenty20 tournament which starts Tuesday.
Both have been banned from cricket for at least five years by the sport's governing body for their role in arranging deliberate no-balls to order during the 2010 Lord's Test against England.
Butt, captain in the infamous Lord's Test, appeared on the ARY news channel during Pakistan's five wicket win over arch-rivals India in a warm-up match in Colombo on Monday, while Amir made an appearance on Express News the same day.
Butt controversially did a stint as pundit for Pakistan's Channel Five during last year's 50-over World Cup, but this is the first time 20-year-old Amir has appeared as an expert.
The channels said both players will give expert comments throughout the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, and ARY ran promos with Butt with the tagline:
“Stopped from playing, but not from speaking.”
In addition to their bans from the International Cricket Council (ICC) Butt, Amir and Mohammad Asif were jailed by an English court for contriving to bowl no-balls with their agent Mazhar Majeed during the Lord's Test.
The ICC last year reacted sharply to Butt's television role.
“The ICC Board, having a zero tolerance attitude towards corruption, expressed disappointment at the decision by a Pakistan television channel, which has no relationship with the ICC, to employ the suspended Mr Salman Butt as a studio pundit during the World Cup,” then-ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat had said.
The ICC have not yet reacted to the new TV roles.
Express News channel said they had received mixed reactions from the fans, with some criticising the banned players' appearance but some appreciating their new roles.