Salman Butt deserves his int’l comeback and Ramiz Raja is wrong to criticize him

We all have seen this enough; corruption tends to be forgiven in Pakistan as has been the case in politics, businesses and sports.

With little or no accountability for corrupt practices in Pakistan, the people don’t find it wrong to indulge in such activities as they know that they would find a way out of it.

Many cricketers have taken this route and seeing that they somehow end up finding a way back, other players see this as an opportunity rather than a sin and are more inclined to follow this path as was evident by last edition’s Pakistan Super League fixing scandal where Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif and Muhammad Irfan were banned for their involvement in fixing.

The biggest scandal to hit Pakistan was when the trio of Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Amir got caught and were banned for their involvement in spot-fixing during a Test match against England in 2010.

Amir has already been welcomed back with open arms and now news has emerged that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is considering allowing Butt to also make an international comeback.

Ramiz Raja, who has been heavily critical of tainted players getting back into the national side, once again stoked the flames when he tweeted, “Going in circles in cricket corruption- PSL guilty players fined leniently while rogue Salman Butt is green lighted to play for Pak again.”

While it is laudable that Raja has this stance against tainted players, the question that needs to be asked is whether he is right to criticize the PCB for considering Butt for the national side.

Butt has already served his sentence and is one of the best domestic performers at the moment; his statistics speak for themselves and just because he has a tainted past, that cannot be held against him.

Butt went through a rehabilitation process with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and that was not just a class he had to attend, he had to go through a gruelling process until the ICC was satisfied that he could be allowed back into the game — if the ICC is satisfied, then why shouldn’t the PCB be as well?

If you look at the law then there is absolutely no reason to not allow Butt back into the side; after all a precedent has been set with Amir and a host of other players in the country’s cricketing past but critics would point out names such as Saleem Malik, Ataur Rehman and Danesh Kaneria who were banned for life for committing the similar, if not the same, crime.

Yes these players should not have been banned for life but that is PCB’s problem because the board is certainly guilty of select justice. And because it is a problem of the PCB, players who are actually getting a chance to do away with this should not have to suffer with Butt being the prime example.

At 32, Butt has a lot, if not many, years left in him and given the way he is batting, he could certainly lift Pakistan and help the national side.

It is the PCB which certainly needs to get its act straight and stop this trend of select justice, however, Butt, who has openly stated in the past that he wants to make amends for what he did to the country, should be given the chance to do so.

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