LAHORE: Returning to Pakistan after spending close to nine months in prison in Britain, former Pakistan national cricket team captain Salman Butt maintained that he was innocent of spot-fixing, clarifying that he had served a sentence for “failure to report” advances from a bookie.
“I have never entertained any offer, nothing ever practically happened in a match that was linked to any offer. Of spot-fixing or any fixing, I never asked anyone to do anything or bowl any no-balls, I am not associated with it.”
Speaking to media men upon his arrival at the Allama Iqbal airport in Lahore early Friday morning, Butt admitted he had failed to report the advances to due authorities, and for this he had served a commuted sentence.
“I apologised to the ICC for this, I did not report the events [advances] between these two to three months because I knew the person,” explained Butt, adding that he hoped the former sporting agent, Mazhar Majeed would realise the wrongdoing and correct his ways.
“To the people of Pakistan, all the cricketers, those who support us and make us stars, I apologise – but for failure to report,” Butt asserted.
Pressed for answers by the media which had waited to talk to Butt for more than an hour after his flight had landed, said that he would sit with his legal team and hold a press conference to explain everything.
Asked what he wanted to do next, the former left-handed batsman said that he wanted to make a comeback as a “good person, a good pakistani, and as a good cricketer.”
In response to a question he said he felt very good to have returned home. “No place like Pakistan.”
Butt, who was implicated in spot-fixing for the third test match between Pakistan and England, had been convicted by an ICC tribunal in February 2011 on charges of failing to report an advance and for ordering two of his bowlers, playing under his command, to bowl no-balls at specific times during the match. He was banned from the sport of cricket for 10 years, the last five of which were suspended, provided he did not commit further offences and participate in a Pakistan Cricket Board anti-corruption programme.
He, and fellow players Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were convicted by the Southwark court for conspiracy to cheat at gambling and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments in November 2011. Butt was sentenced to 30 months for this offence.