Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif are back

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Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

As in ‘returned’. What else would the word ‘back’ mean in that context? It’s not like there’s an ambiguous apostrophe-S in there or anything.

Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif both played for Water and Power Development Authority against Federally Administered Tribal Areas in one of those somehat fictional sounding domestic fixtures in which Pakistan specialises. Butt made a ton.

Back when Asif, Butt and Mohammad Amir were banned, we wrote that a reformed cricketer would acknowledge wrongdoing and accept a fitting punishment that would serve the greater good of the sport. Whether you believe him or not, this is pretty much what Amir did. The other two, less so.

Butt spent most of his ban denying that he did anything, while Asif is just a dick and therefore saw no real need to apologise or seek redemption. As far as we can tell, he simply doesn’t care. He probably passed his time away from the sport shoplifting from charity shops and throwing his plunder into the river in a bid to clog it up.

Despite the protestations of some of his team-mates, Amir is now returning to the Pakistan side. The selectors said they went purely on ability in making their decision. By that rationale, it surely can’t be long before his one-time new ball partner also makes a return. Amir was good, but he was hit and miss. Asif, as unpalatable as it may be, was always better.


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  1. Some of us are born with a simply staggering amount of talent. Like me, for example – I was born with an unbelievable ability to spin partially boiled eggs on a table top so that they fall off the edge into a small pan of crisps. In that sense, there is no difference between me and these cricketers; we all have skills that are inherently useless. The difference is that for some bizarre reason, nobody will pay me to exhibit my skill, whereas they are able to earn a lot of money exhibiting theirs.

    All people deserve a second chance in life, but they do not necessarily deserve all of the same privileges. If Asif, Amir and Butt were banned forever from professional cricket, they would be in exactly the same circumstance as me. The only thing that would have been taken away is that single opportunity they were incredibly lucky to have been afforded in the first place. And bear in mind that the only reason it was taken away is because they abused it.

    I would wish them all the best in their new careers as farmers, accountants, lawyers, bin men, tree surgeons, ordinary people. And I hope that whatever they chose to do, they don’t immediately choose to defraud their colleagues and customers. As for cricket, that’s a different story…

    1. Friends of mine plan top grade, large scale events.

      They are currently planning a stadium gig and mentioned to me only yesterday that they are especially keen to sign a virtuoso spinner of partially boiled eggs.

      I said I didn’t know of anyone – I probably should have thought of you in that context but it probably is not too late.

      Should I put their people in touch with your people? This could be the big break that you and your eggs have been waiting for.

    2. Don’t you go with Ged’s men, Bert. I know a guy who knows a guy who plays the banjo, usually seated behind dumpsters. Gets a small income, usually from drunk people. He’s not the corporate type, but that should be obvious – keeps saying he won’t sell his soul. Anyway he’s been pestering my friend to find a good egg spinner. He kept asking if he meant ‘leg’, but dumpster dude’s firm about the egg spinning. Something of a sidekick to his act. You could make anything between a solid 5 and 10 rupees every evening.

      1. My mate is an acupuncturist, which while his entire livelihood is utter hogwash, means he does often get to stick tiny needles into people’s lower limbs and charges a hefty fee to do so. I guess you could say he’s a professional legs-pinner.

      2. With the deepest respect, Deep Cower, this is not a competition between my people (not all men) and your “guys”. We’re trying to help Bert out, here. He can do your gigs AND my gigs.

        I am certain that Bert does not want to be one of those stars who forgets his roots as soon as he has a stadium gig deal in his hand. Indeed, I think I can categorically say on Bert’s behalf that he would simply love to earn 5 or perhaps even 10 rupees behind the dumpsters, spinning eggs for the rabble in much the way he used to in his own slumdog days.

      3. I’m sorry chaps, I’m banned for life from professional competition. When I was a young eggie I foolishly accepted a bribe to fix the result of a second division championship match. In itself that’s not illegal – it’s actually how you score points. But I used the money to buy a remote controlled egg with a mini gyroscope inside. Again, that’s normal practice for elite level eggery. But to make sure I could hold the controller without shaking, I took a cocktail of performance enhancing drugs. As these had been handed out by the President of the World Egg Spinning Association before the match, there was no problem there either.

        I probably shouldn’t have made love to his wife, though, especially not while he was giving me my winners medal.

    1. Think that might even be the wicket where he said he hadn’t meant to get him out that ball. He’d intended to set him up for the next one.

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