Disgraced Butt reaches Pakistan, pleads innocence

     LAHORE, June 22:

Pakistan’s disgraced former captain Salman Butt today returned to a tumultuous reception after serving seven months of a 30-month prison sentence for spot-fixing in the United Kingdom and pleaded his innocence.

     Held guilty for his involvement in spot-fixing during Pakistan’s tour to England in 2010, Butt insisted that his only mistake was “failure to report” advances from a bookie.

     “I have never entertained any offer, nothing ever practically happened in a match that was linked to any offer. of spot-fixing or any fixing, I never asked anyone to do anything or bowl any no-balls, I am not associated with it,” Butt told reporters at the Allama Iqbal international airport here.

     The former Test opener admitted his only blunder was not to report the advances made to him by the bookmaker Mazhar Majeed, who is still in jail.

     “That was my mistake and I should have told the authorities immediately but I have paid a heavy price for this,” he said.

     “I have served a sentence for that and I have also apologised to the ICC for this,” he added.

     Butt, whose family was at the airport to greet him in tears, said he didn’t report the advances for two to three months since he knew the person.

     “I had hoped that my former sporting agent Mazhar Majeed would realise the wrongdoing and correct his ways. To the people of Pakistan, all the cricketers, those who support us and make us stars, I apologise – but for failure to report,” Butt asserted. (PTI)