File photo of banned former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt. (AP Photo)
Karachi: The Pakistan cricket community was left perplexed on Friday after former captain Salman Butt, who is serving a ban for involvement in spot-fixing, for the first time admitted to his part in corruption. The cricket community was left wondering as to why it had taken Butt more than two years to admit his crime and seek an apology.
"He should have done it much earlier. After constantly denying he was involved in spot fixing in 2010 in that Lord's Test and saying he was a victim of injustice, his statement today is hard to digest," former captain Rashid Latif said.
Pakistan's former Test batsman and coach Mohsin Khan said Butt has realised the damage he had caused to Pakistan cricket. "What is done is done, but he now has to face the consequences of his actions. I hope he plays his role in helping cricket remain clean of corruption and fixing," he said.
Butt told the media in his hometown Lahore that he had done wrong and wanted to set things right. "What I did was wrong and I sincerely apologise to my countrymen and cricket followers all over the world for damaging the sport and causing them hurt," he said.
Butt and team-mates Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were banned by the ICC's anti-corruption tribunal in February 2011 after the spot-fixing scandal broke out during Pakistan's tour of England in 2010. Butt was given a 10 year ban with five years suspended. The three were also found guilty last year of spot-fixing by a crown court in London and spent different terms in jail before returning home.
Butt, 28, said he wanted to make things right and knew he had caused lot of damage to Pakistan cricket through his actions. "I apologise to all those people whose sentiments I hurt with my actions. I also want to tell all young players today, don't ever get involved in such things. It is useless and it finishes you," he said.
"I am ready to undergo any rehabilitation program and I will also appeal to the PCB Chairman Najam Sethi to look into my case and kindly allow me to at least resume playing domestic cricket when I complete my ban," he said.
Butt also appealed to the interim chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board to take up his case with the ICC. "I have served more than two years ban and also spent time in jail. I would appeal to the board to do something for me."
Butt and Asif had also appealed with the International Court of Arbitration for sports which rejected them this year. Amir, however, has already confessed to spot-fixing in the Lord's Test and is undergoing a rehabilitation program in Pakistan.
When contacted, Asif said he would try to meet the PCB chairman when he returns from London. "I will decide what to do after meeting Najam Sethi but I am willing to do anything they tell me to do. I will follow their advice," he said.
Asif said he didn't want to comment on Butt's statement.