The divide in Pakistan cricket over whether the tainted trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir should be allowed back into national cricket has become greater with the former skipper expressing concern it could eventually lead to their isolation.
“It is a disturbing situation the way I see it. It is like we could be isolated. We just want to be allowed to play proper cricket. How else can we show anyone that we have changed and have learnt from our mistakes,” Butt said.
His remarks don’t come as a surprise as Pakistan’s former captain and the ambassador for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Ramiz Raja has stepped up his campaign to keep them away from cricket.
Ramiz told a daily English newspaper that allowing the trio to be part of the PSL would be extremely dangerous for the reputation of the league and advised the cricket board to keep them away.
“I have clear views. The crime committed by them is unforgivable,” Ramiz said and added “I personally would never want them to be a part of the PSL as it is going to be extremely dangerous for the model of the event and image of Pakistan cricket.”
Another former captain Rashid Latif has also spoken out against allowing the trio back into the cricket circuit even though they have completed their five-year bans for spot- fixing earlier this month.
The PCB has announced a reintegration and rehabilitation program for the trio, which rules them out of first-class cricket until February 2016.
Butt said that while he was eager to do everything the board wanted him to win back the confidence of the people and players, this virtually meant no return to first-class cricket until the next domestic season.
“From what I know there is no first class cricket or major domestic event after February 2016. And I just want a chance to also prove my match fitness and form as I have not missed a single day of training since returning to Pakistan after the ban,” he said.
But there is some hope for the trio as Pakistan’s enigmatic fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who has indicated he is keen to buy a franchise in the PSL and be part of its management, has said he would like to see Aamir play for his team.
“I am planning to buy a team in the PSL and would like to have Aamir in my team so that I can guide him and make him an effective bowler and better person,” Akhtar said on the Geo Super sports channel.
“I think they have suffered enough for their crime and they now deserve a second chance. I don’t see any reason for holding them back,” he said.