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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Misbah in favour of 'tainted' opener Salman Butt's Test recall

Misbah in favour of 'tainted' opener Salman Butt's Test recall

April 20, 2016 18:39 IST

Image: Former Pakistan opener Salman Butt. Photograph: Getty Images.

Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq has opened the door to a return for disgraced opener Salman Butt, who was jailed for 30 months in 2011 for his role in a spot-fixing scandal.

The 31-year old Butt, 31 was suspended in the 2010 Lord’s Test against England at Lord's along with fast-bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif for conspiring to deliberately bowl no balls during the match.

However, Amir made a comeback to the international stage and also played in the recently concluded T20 World Cup for Pakistan.

Having served a five-year ban, the former captain returned to domestic cricket at the start of the year and his early form indicates he's lost none of the ability that saw him score more than 5000 runs at international level between 2003 and 2010.

The southpaw was in terrific form in Pakistan’s domestic circuit scoring 135, 99no, 6, 30, 81no, 95 and 90 in the space of just 12 days in January.

"We have a settled line up between Nos 3 and 7 but the opening slot is not as consistent as the rest of the order. There are issues and we are looking at a couple more options including Shan Masood and Salman Butt," said Misbah.

"Salman is playing well and overall I didn’t see any such difference since he left [in 2010]. He is a good prospect and he has also scored ample runs after his comeback.  Watching him in the nets he looks good, but now we have to see how well he will do in the upcoming tournament," he added.

UK Government could refuse visa

However, despite the backing from skipper Misbah, Pakistan will find it difficult to include Butt for their forthcoming tour of England. 

The former Pakistan captain was jailed for 30 months for his involvement in spot-fixing.

However, Butt served just seven months of the sentence before being allowed back to Pakistan under the UK government's early release scheme, which means that the person is formally deported and cannot return to the UK within 10 years of the end of the original sentence.