Former captain Salman Butt has called for an open trial against him in Pakistan saying he didn’t get justice in a cricket corruption case which led to a lengthy ban and jail time.
The 27-year-old was found guilty by both the game’s governing body and a British court of orchestrating deliberate no-balls through two of his bowlers during the 2010 Lord’s Test against England, in return for money.
The deal was organised between Butt’s agent Mazhar Majeed and an undercover reporter for the now defunct News of the World, in a sting operation which exposed corruption in international cricket.
All three players were banned for a minimum of five years by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and were subsequently convicted and jailed by a British court for corruption.
Butt, who was the last of the three released from prison last week after serving less than a quarter of his 30 month sentence, protested his innocence.
“If you look at the evidence you can judge that I didn’t get justice,” Butt said in his first television interview since the affair, which aired on private channel Express News on Thursday night.
“I had to make a sacrifice because I didn’t take anyone’s name, it didn’t suit me. It’s not about me or anyone else, it’s about Pakistan. I would like Pakistani courts, the Supreme Court, to hold an open trial and I am sure they will clear me.
“I don’t accept anything against me. If you look at the evidence against me, I had no links to spot-fixing. Who did and who planned it (I don’t know), but certainly I didn’t do that. I played for my country and respected that (honour).”
When asked about the discovery in his hotel room of notes marked by the News of the World, Butt replied: “Yes there were 4,500 pounds and that was my money. I had to inaugurate an ice cream parlour and got 2,500 pounds (from Majeed) in advance.
“I didn’t know that he had paid me notes which were marked. That was my money and that’s why I got them back (when I was released) and I have receipt of all that.”
Butt said the welcome he received in Lahore suggested people still loved him.
“It was an unexpected welcome. People showed they still love me,” said Butt of the welcome in Lahore last week.
Play for Pak again?
He also vowed to represent Pakistan again. “I will do my best to become a good human being and represent Pakistan again. It seems a long shot but I will do my best,” said Butt, who apologised for his actions on arrival last week.
Butt later told a press conference he will challenge the ICC ban, ten years in all with five suspended years, in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) based in Switzerland.
“I have written to the CAS to take up my appeal but the cost of this whole process is very expensive and I cannot afford that and need support,” said Butt.
“The ICC banned me before the forensic evidence came,” said Butt of the mobile phone data of his conversation and SMS with Majeed to strike the deal. “The evidence came after ten months but the ICC banned me before that.”