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Salman still eyeing international comeback

April 18, 2013

LAHORE: Despite his international cricketing career looking very much over, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt still believes he can make a comeback after he and former Pakistan team-mate Mohammad Asif saw their appeals against spot-fixing bans rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday.

Salman lost his appeal against a 10-year ban while Asif failed to overturn a seven-year suspension by an International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal in 2011 for their roles in spot-fixing in the Lord’s Test against England in 2010. The disgraced duo must serve five years of their sanctions, with the remaining years deferred by the ICC.

On that context, Salman told Dawn that he would be back in international cricket in 28 months’ time.

“What is done is done,” he said. “I have already served two years and eight months of the ban but now I have to finish the two years and four months to try to make a return to cricket,” he said.

Salman informed that the ICC tribunal headed by Michael Beloff had reduced five years of his punishment suspension provided he does not breach any Code of Conduct and it makes him optimistic of making a return to the national team.

“The ICC tribunal asked me not to attend any rehabilitation programme arranged by the PCB and I was also barred from participation in any tournament which comes into the fold of the ICC or the PCB so I’m hopeful of a comeback,” he said.

“I have high hopes of resuming my career because I am 28 years old and our current captain is 39 and the vice captain is 33,” he added, referring to Misbah-ul Haq and Mohammad Hafeez respectively.

“The last few years have been the most difficult years of my life but right now I’m determined to make a comeback to cricket when this ban ends.

“I’m trying to keep myself fit and motivated by playing under cricket tournaments which are not under the charter of the ICC or the PCB.

“I will be 30 by the time the ban is finished and lets see if the motivation is still there otherwise I’ll do some other work.”

AP adds: Lawyers for Salman said the player “will be exploring every other available avenue” to resume his professional career.

“I made the appeal to the CAS because that was the only option available to me to prove my innocence but I had 50-50 expectations from the appeal and I wasn’t sure that the decision will come in my favour,” Salman said.

Amer Rahman, the legal advisor who represented Butt in the appeal, said: “Both Salman and us are bitterly disappointed with the decision of the court.

“Salman has been in a very dark place over the last few years and he was hoping that he would be successful in this appeal. We will not be giving up.”