Lausanne – Disgraced former Pakistan captain Salman Butt on Friday said he hoped the Court of Arbitration for Sport would overturn his ban imposed for spot-fixing and let him return to the game he loves.
“I am grateful to the CAS that they have allowed me this opportunity to appeal this sentence,” Butt said in a statement released after a day-long hearing at the Swiss-based court.
“Since September 2010, until now, I have not been able to play any meaningful game of cricket: to coach or to even be involved in the administration of the game,” he said.
“I love cricket: it is something that runs through me in my veins and my blood. I await the decision of the CAS. It means so much to me. I truly pray that they can change it for me by reducing the sentence,” he added.
Butt's appearance comes a day after Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif appeared before the court, in what he described to AFP as a “quite busy” day of hearings about the infamous Lord's Test against England in 2010.
A verdict is expected in the next three weeks.
Butt, Asif and fellow paceman Mohammad Aamer were banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2011 after being found guilty of corruption for deliberately contriving no balls to order in that match.
In November 2011, the trio were also jailed by a British court over the scandal, which was linked to an illegal betting ring.
All three were released last year after completing half of their sentences.
The case marked one of cricket's biggest scandals in years.
Butt, now 28, was banned from the game for 10 years, with the possibility of five suspended.
He has argued though that the suspension was a career-ending punishment, and has insisted he should be given another opportunity to play for Pakistan.
Asif, now 30, was banned for seven years, with two suspended, and the then teenager Aamer for five years.
Aamer, now 20, decided not to pursue his appeal at the CAS, after pleading guilty to the charges in Britain.
Asif, played 23 Tests and 38 one-day internationals and was regarded as one of the best new-ball bowlers in the world.
Butt was made Test captain on the fateful tour of England, and Aamer was regarded as the fastest emerging bowler in the world.
“We are certain that the Panel will consider our legal submissions and the material facts of this case carefully when reaching their verdict,” Butt's lawyers said in a statement.
“There is only one outcome that can be positive for Salman and us – he must be allowed to play cricket now. We can then say that justice has truly been served,” they added. – Sapa-AFP