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Salman Butt training for return

Salman Training Pakistan NewsLAHORE: Former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt said Saturday he was eager to return to cricket and had not stopped practice despite his suspension on allegations of spot-fixing.

Test skipper Butt, 26, fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were banned from all forms of the game after they were charged with various offences under the anti-corruption code of conduct on September 2.

The charges followed revelations by British tabloid The News of the World and subsequent investigations by the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption and security unit into “spot-fixing” allegations during Pakistan’s tour of England.

The three players will have their appeals heard in Doha on October 30 and 31. The ICC said Michael Beloff, head of the governing body’s code of conduct commission, would hear their appeals against their suspensions.

Butt refused to comment on the spot-fixing allegations as the matter was sub judice but was hopeful things would go well for him.

“I have been keeping my fitness,” he told AFP. “If my suspension is lifted on October 31, I will be available to play for Pakistan from the next day.”

“I am eager to do that,” he added.

Salman said the allegations had derailed his career.

“The way I was playing and leading the team was a very good stage of my career but these allegations have derailed it,” he said.

Butt took over after tour captain Shahid Afridi retired from Test cricket following Pakistan’s defeat against Australia at Lord’s.

Under his captaincy, Pakistan beat Australia in the second Test at Leeds – their first win over Australia for 15 years. Pakistan then lost the first two Tests against England before beating them at The Oval.

England won the fourth Test at Lord’s to take the series 3-1 – two days after the spot-fixing allegations against Pakistani players surfaced.

Salman said the whole episode was a learning experience for him.

“It has taught me a lot about how to deal with the people around you, and you get to recognise people…. who is your friend and who is not.”

Butt said he was mentally ready to play Pakistan’s next series against South Africa starting in United Arab Emirates later this month.  —AFP

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