Karachi: Salman Butt, who on Wednesday lost his appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a spot-fixing ban, was once touted as a prospect to lead Pakistan for years to come.
The stylish opener was handed the captaincy after Shahid Afridi quit following a one-sided defeat against Australia at Lords in July 2010 and took little time in changing the fortunes of the embattled team.
Pakistan defeated Australia in the very next match by four wickets at Leeds - their first win over Test cricket's best team for 15 years - and hopes of a new era were high.
But those hopes were short-lived as a month later several Pakistani players, including Salman, became embroiled in a spot-fixing scandal.
Britain's News of the World claimed that seven Pakistani players, including Salman, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, took money from Mazhar Majeed to obey orders at specific stages in the Lord's Test against England.
Scotland Yard detectives raided the team hotel, reportedly confiscating a huge amount of money from Salman's room.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) provisionally suspended the players, then banned them from cricket for - Salman for 10 years. Worse was to come as in November 2011, a British court jailed all three players and Majeed.
For many in the game Salman's alleged involvement came as a shock but not for those who knew of his love for expensive watches and luxury cars.
After the tour of India in 2007, the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit questioned Salman, Umar Gul and Danish Kaneria and warned them over the pitfalls involved in associating with certain businessmen.
Salman's role again came under question during the team's surprising defeat in the Sydney Test against Australia in January 2010 and later in the World Twenty20 held in the West Indies.
"There was no doubt about his huge talent," said former captain Aamir Sohail, who gave Salman his first chance when chief of selectors in 2003. "Over the years he really improved and was supposed to bring a lot to Pakistan cricket before these unfortunate events unfolded."
Emerging from the streets of Lahore, Salman represented his country at all levels, leading Pakistan to the Asian Under-15 title in 1999 and then impressing in the Junior World Cup in 2002.
Salman's brilliant match-winning hundred in a one-day match against India at Calcutta in late 2004 set his career on the right track and although he remained in and out of the squad, his talent was never in doubt.
Under former coach Bob Woolmer, Salman's career flourished with hundreds at Sydney in January 2005 and another three-figure knock against Ashes-winning England at Multan.
Former captain Ramiz Raja, who had always praised Salman's talents, was furious at seeing the captain caught up in the latest scandal. "I felt he had the potential to play a long innings for Pakistan," Raja told AFP. "When you pin hopes on someone and he disappoints you then you yell out a scream."
Salman, 28, has said that he believes he will play again but with the Swiss court having upheld the ICC ban, that now looks an unlikely prospect.
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