Butt back in spotlight after playing in dubious event

Butt, who was Pakistan’s captain when the spot-fixing scandal broke out in England in late 2010, confirmed he had played two matches in the controversial Ajman All Stars T20 League held recently.

Salman Butt, who was leading Pakistan when the spot-fixing scandal broke out in England in late 2010, confirmed he had played two matches in the tainted League.   -  AFP

 

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt is once again in the spotlight after the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption unit confirmed it was investigating the Ajman All Stars T20 League held recently.

Butt, who served a five-year ban for spot-fixing between 2010 and 2016, took part in the private tournament along with former Pakistani players Hasan Raza and  Muhammad Khalil. The League has caught the attention of the ICC after visuals of some matches - containing some questionable dismissals and behaviour on part of the players - were aired. However, the footage doesn’t include any of the Pakistani players.

Butt, who was leading Pakistan when the spot-fixing scandal broke out in England in late 2010, confirmed he had played two matches.

“I went there as I was not picked for the national regions one-day cup by Lahore and I was doing nothing. But when I reached there, I realised it was just an amateur level event which had no match referee, ICC anti-corruption representative or even scorers,” Butt told PTI.

“Since the spot-fixing scandal, I try to stay as far as possible from controversies. I am happy the ICC is investigating the event because there were a lot of flaws in it. But I played just two games and then went away to Dubai,” he explained.

Butt said he was out for a duck in the first match while in the second, he scored around 70 odd runs.

“I don’t know the exact score I got since there was no proper scorer around.”

Butt made it clear he didn’t feature in the match footages which were aired on social media.The former captain also disclosed that when he was made an offer to play in the Ajman all stars league he had told the organisers he would need some time to get NOCs from the PCB and his department, Wapda.

“But they told me it was a private tournament and not sanctioned, so no NOC was required to play. When I went there I realised it was just a badly managed street level event and it made no sense to me.”

The Leauge has been disowned and termed as illegal by the Emirates cricket board and Ajman Cricket Council.

'We've taken immediate action'

Shaji-ul Mulk, Secretary of the Ajman Cricket Council, told Sportstar, "We have taken immediate action as soon as we came to know about the fixing allegations. We have a very robust and clear system in place. All the cricket that happens here has to be approved by the Ajman Cricket Council.

"We had suspended the affiliation of Ajman Oval, a privately-owned ground, because they were conducting dubious tournaments from before."

He added, "The suspension happened a few days before this league in question started. And that suspension was not due to this league, but for the fact it was conducting unapproved tournaments for a while. The Ajman Cricket Council called the owners of the ground and asked for explanation. They had no definitive answer and we had to cancel the affiliation of the ground."

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