Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt on Thursday pleaded for a revival of his cricket career, frozen by a long ban for spot-fixing in the infamous Lord's Test against England in 2010. The 28-year-old was banned for 10 years, with the possibility of five suspended, for his role in arranging no balls to order in the match, but will appeal against the sentence at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Friday.
Butt, who was jailed by a British court over the scandal, said the suspension was a career-ending punishment. "It may be easy for some people to say that a five-year ban from cricket is all right but what they don't realise is that for a sportsman like me this is like a lifetime ban," he said in a statement issued by his lawyer. "My whole family and my life is disturbed."
Butt and pacemen Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2011 after being found guilty of deliberately contriving no-balls. The now defunct British newspaper the News of the World exposed the players in a sting operation involving their agent Mazhar Majeed who struck a deal for 150,000 pounds with an undercover reporter. Aamer, banned for five years, pleaded guilty in court and decided not to appeal against the ICC ban, while Asif will appear at the CAS on Thursday to contest his ban of seven years, with the possibility of two suspended.
Butt, whose wife gave birth to their second son on the day he was jailed by the British court, said he wanted another opportunity to play for Pakistan. "Cricket is my life and every single day that has passed has been so painful because I have not been able to play. All I want is an opportunity to get back into cricket whilst I am still young and I can still play well."
Butt's lawyer Yasin Patel said the ban was harsh. "We are appealing the sanctions that were imposed upon us and they should not have been so high," Patel was quoted in the statement. The ICC will be represented by their legal firm Bird and Bird along with the head of their legal department.