Pakistan cricketing duo to return after corruption ban
Pakistan duo Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt will be eligible to return to competitive cricket on September 2 after serving bans for corrupt behaviour on the 2010 tour of England, the International Cricket Council has announced.
Their co-conspirator Mohammad Amir has already returned to domestic cricket having been given dispensation by the ICC, and will become available for international duty on the same date - just over a month before England play Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
A statement from the world governing body read: "The International Cricket Council today confirmed that the sanctions against Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt will expire at midnight on 1 September 2015 and that they will be eligible to return to competitive cricket, at both domestic and international levels, on 2 September 2015 after fulfilling the specific conditions laid down by the independent anti-corruption tribunal."
All three players will have served five-year bans following their part in a plot to deliberately bowl no-balls in the Lord's Test in August 2010.
That was the full sentence imposed on Amir, who differed from fellow seamer Asif and his then captain Butt in pleading guilty to his original charge.
A tribunal headed by Michael Beloff QC imposed an additional two-year suspended ban on Asif and an additional five-year suspended ban on Butt, who were criticised in the aftermath for failing to show contrition.
But neither of those additional tariffs have been activated after both men were deemed to be in accordance with ICC-mandated conditions.
The statement continued: "Mohammad Amir will be eligible to return to cricket at international level at the same time, following permission being granted to him to return to play domestic cricket in Pakistan earlier this year.
"The three players were found guilty of various offences of corrupt behaviour relating to the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan in August 2010 by the independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal on 5 February 2011, with their sanctions backdated to commence on 2 September 2010.
"As with all players and other participants in cricket, all three players remain bound to comply with the ICC Anti-Corruption Code and the anti-corruption rules of all National Cricket Federations."
It seems unlikely that 30-year-old Butt or 32-year-old Asif would be considered to feature against England in an autumn series consisting of three Tests, four ODIs and two Twenty20s, though Amir may be considered an outside chance.
At 23, the lavishly talented swing bowler is the youngest of the trio by a distance and made the first steps of a comeback for Rawalpindi Rams in a T20 tournament in May.