Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif have been given a reprieve by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) by including them in the player draft for the second Pakistan Super League (PSL).
The disgraced former Pakistan players were both ignored for the first PSL draft as they had just completed their five-year bans for spot-fixing.
Former Test captain Butt has been included in the Gold category, while Asif has been named in the lower Silver category for the draft that will take place in Dubai next week.
“It is a big step forward after the ban to be called up for the PSL. But I am nervous whether any franchise will pick me,” Salman Butt said on Friday (October 7).
The left-handed opener said he was comfortable playing in the T20 format, and while being included in the PSL draft was a big boost for him, he still wanted to play for Pakistan again.
“I feel remorse and guilt for the past but my faith is stronger now. I just hope and pray for better things to happen now,” Butt said.
Although his ban ended in September 2015, the national selectors still have doubts over whether to recall Butt.
Board nsiders said the main reason for this indecision is because Butt was the ring leader in the spot-fixing scandal and were worried about the reaction if he was recalled. Second, it was likely the board will face problems securing visas for him for tours.
But the former skipper said he had already been to China, Norway and other countries, and was ready to face any situation. Butt is presently playing in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy first class competition for WAPDA.
Asif said earlier this month: “It’s a tournament that has been a great innovation in Pakistan cricket and I would like to be a part of it.
“There is a lot of regret and pain. What’s happened cannot be changed now but there is still a lot of hurt. However if I keep thinking about the past, then that won’t help matters; I have to look ahead and to the future.
“I believe I have three or four years of playing cricket at the highest level left in me. I want to focus on doing well in the coming months and years, rather than just thinking about what happened in the past.”
The success of the first PSL in Dubai has also seen an increase in the number of foreign players now available in the players draft.
Former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, England’s ODI captain Eoin Morgan, Alex Hales, Sunil Narine, Kieran Pollard, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, Steve Finn, Wayne Parnell, Albie Morkel, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Carlos Braithwaithe, Jason Holder, Jason Roy, Stuart Broad, have all been added to the overseas players list in different categories.
The highest number of overseas players belong to Sri Lanka, West Indies and England for the PSL. The second PSL is due to be held in February 2016 in the UAE, but the PCB are confident it can stage the final in Lahore.