Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt targets return to national team

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Butt bats during his last Test for Pakistan.

Former captain Salman Butt is already dreaming about a possible return to the Pakistan national team after the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the expiry of his match fixing from September 2, 2015.

The ICC has given the green light to Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir to play competitive cricket as of September.

While Amir was expected to return quickly, the reprieves of Butt and Asif are somewhat of a surprise, considering the ICC's view of the pair.

All three players were involved in the infamous spot-fixing incidents during the August 2010 Test against England, which rocked international cricket.

British newspaper The News of the World broke the story and the aforementioned players were later found to take bribes from bookmaker, Mazhar Majeed, to bowl deliberate no-balls.

British police arrested the bookmaker and the ICC banned the three players for different periods; Amir for five years, Asif for seven years (later two years were suspended on specific conditions) and Butt for 10 years (later five years suspended).

“I’m really thankful to ICC for allowing me a second chance and to PCB for helping me complete the rehabilitation process,” Butt told reporters in Lahore.

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“My target is to focus on just cricket and stage a return to international cricket through performances in domestic cricket. I know it won’t be easy to breakthrough into the Pakistan side as there is lot of competition for places but I’m really eager about it and have kept myself fit.”

The left-hander has already been included in Lahore’s T20 team after being cleared but the PCB had to step in to clarify that some formalities were still uncompleted.

They added that while Butt has completed the requirements of ICC, there are certain obligations with the PCB which need to be fulfilled before he can play in domestic cricket.

“I’ve made myself available to PCB for the lecture to youngsters and whenever I’ll be called, I’ll present myself. The youngsters should learn from our mistake and I pray that no one go through such a time what I have been through,” added Butt.

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#360LIVE: England vs Australia

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Australia will be aiming for a consolation victory over England.

Follow every ball of the first day of the fifth and final Ashes Test between England and Australia at The Oval LIVE right here on Sport360.com.

Use #360LIVE across social media to have your say on the action as it unfolds.

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Amla ends run drought with century as S. Africa beat NZ

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Hashim Amla returned to form with a century which set up a 20-run for South Africa in the first one-day international against New Zealand at SuperSport Park.

Amla (124) and Rilee Rossouw (89) shared a second wicket partnership of 185 as South Africa scored 304 for seven after being sent in to bat.

New Zealand threatened to get close before they were bowled out for 284 with 11 balls remaining.

Tom Latham (60) and captain Kane Williamson put on 104 for New Zealand’s second wicket after Luke Ronchi had been caught at first slip off Dale Steyn in the first over.

An injured Martin Guptill made an aggressive 25 after Williamson was dismissed for 47 but New Zealand lost three wickets in 12 balls. 

Guptill injured his left wrist while fielding and did not open the batting as usual. He came in at number four after having an injection.

The tourists looked out of the game at 158 for five but left-handers Jimmy Neesham and Colin Munro put on 71 off 65 balls to keep their side up with the required run rate before both were dismissed in quick succession.

“I was pleased with the way the boys stuck at it considering the way Hashim and Rilee Rossouw batted,” said Williamson. “But when you lose three wickets in a short time it doesn’t help.”

– INTERVIEW: Anwar Ali on plotting a permanent Pakistan place
– FEATURE: How Bangladesh are building to take on cricket’s elite
– Viv Richards – Clarke should not be remembered for Ashes loss
– #360stats: A history of the Test rivalry between Sri Lanka & India

South African captain AB de Villiers was disappointed with a sloppy South African performance in the field.

“We should have won by a bigger margin. We need to get that energy going. Perhaps a good fielding session is needed before the next game.”

Amla had gone 10 international innings without a fifty since making 159 against Ireland in a World Cup match in Canberra on March 3.

In seven of those innings he failed to reach 20. But much of Amla’s customary fluency returned as he posted a half-century off 54 balls and his 21st one-day international hundred off 109 deliveries.

He was bowled by Adam Milne for 124 off 126 balls, with 13 fours and three sixes. He was dropped on 74 when a diving Latham at cover could not hold a fierce drive off part-time bowler Munro.

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