We should be allowed back into cricket: Muhammad Asif

  • PTI, Karachi
  • Updated: Nov 23, 2014 17:44 IST

Disgraced Pakistan pacer Muhammad Asif is anguished and disappointed that some former cricketers are against the idea of letting players banned for spot-fixing return to the game after being reformed and rehabilitated.

Earlier this week, a statement by former captain Rameez Raja set tongues wagging when he questioned the wisdom of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to try to get some relaxation for Muhammad Aamir from the ICC.

"I don't know why some former players who are our seniors feel we shouldn't be given a chance to resurrect our cricket careers and reform ourselves," Asif told PTI on Saturday.

Asif, Aamir and former captain Salman Butt were all banned for a minimum of five years by the ICC anti-corruption tribunal in early 2011 for spot-fixing during the fourth Test against England in August, 2010.

The trio, who were immediately suspended by the ICC in September 2010, have also served jail sentences in the UK for the same offence.

Officially, the five-year ban on Aamir ends in August, 2015, while Butt and Asif will also be eligible to apply for relaxation after their minimum five-year ban period also ends at the same time.

Butt and Asif have already met PCB officials to plead their cases that the board should also speak up for them in the ICC.

But there is a clear divide now developing in Pakistan's cricket community over whether the trio should be allowed back into the sport.

"Why not? We have admitted we made a grave mistake and committed a crime for which we have served our punishment. But at the same, we have also apologised for our actions and we want to reform ourselves," Asif said.

He pointed out that Rameez didn't utter a word when the ICC allowed West Indian all-rounder Marlon Samuels to return to international cricket after completing his ban for spot-fixing.

"We are citizens of this society and if we have served our punishments and we want to earn our livelihood legally from cricket, why should we be stopped," he said.

Asif pointed out that some players from other countries had also been found involved in corruption and punished for their crime.

"But most of them are now back in cricket in some capacity and this is their right. I know for a fact that after serving this ban and carrying this stigma for the last four years, I would never indulge in such a thing again."

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