The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to allow tainted cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif to play the domestic limited over cricket at the start of the new season., ESPNcricinfo reported.
The decision was taken in consultation with both players, who will complete their rehabilitation programme in February 2016, following a five years cricket exile after the 2010 spot-fixing at cricket’s Mecca, the Lord’s.
The PCB has already allowed the 23-year-old Mohammad Amir, who was also suspended from cricket for being involved in a spot-fixing incident with the then captain Butt and Asif, in domestic cricket. Pakistan coach Waqar Younis indicated that Amir will be considered for the national team if he performs well. Amir is currently playing in Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
The period of suspension for the trio got over in September. While Amir allowed to play the domestic cricket, Butt and Asif were asked to continue the rehabilitation programme. Butt and Asif are currently running their livelihood by serving at Water and Power Development Authority. Both of them have been travelling with the government department but have not played any cricket yet.
PCB wanted them back in domestic cricket, but they have to complete the ICC recommended rehab programme.
Earlier ICC asked PCB to withdraw the ban on Asif and Butt in September, this year when the domestic T20 had been in full swing, but they were asked to prove their form, fitness and mental integrity before they play competitive cricket. So, the WAPDA did not take them in the team for cricket matches.
Meanwhile, Amir and Asif were assigned to campaign against corruption in four provinces of Pakistan. They gave a lecture to junior players, coaches and officials at domestic levels about the perils of corruption in cricket.
“We have decided to allow them to play the one-day cup starting after the ongoing first-class tournament in January,” a PCB spokesman told ESPNcricinfo. “By the end of Quaid-e-Azam trophy (the premier first-class tournament in Pakistan) they would have finished all of their rehab programmes and they will be free to resume their domestic cricket. The [one-day] tournament is slotted in the second week of the January.”
In 2010, initially Asif and Butt did not admit their misdeeds. Unlike them, 17-year-old Mohammad Amir admitted his offence in the spot-fixing incident from the beginning of the case. As a result, Amir got the chance to revive his international career ahead of them. He will be allowed to play in domestic cricket from January. His case was fast-tracked following an amendment in the ICC’s code of conduct, allowing banned players to feature in domestic matches a few months prior to the end of their ban if their ban conditions and rehabilitation requirements are met.