London: Former captain Salman Butt insists a London ice-cream parlour could help clear him of ‘spot-fixing’ allegations made as part of the corruption scandal surrounding the Pakistan cricket team.
Butt said thousands of pounds discovered in his London hotel room after a ‘sting operation’ conducted by Britain’s News of the World (NoW) tabloid, came from daily tour allowances, bat sponsorship and the ice-cream parlour opening.
His explanation is set to form part of his defence at a make-or-break disciplinary hearing, in Doha, Qatar, next month.
Butt was suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) following allegations he and colleagues conspired in the bowling of deliberate no-balls during the fourth Test against England at Lord’s in August.
Fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammed Aamer were suspended on the same allegations.
Butt had only been captain of the side for less than two months, following Shahid Afridi’s resignation when he was implicated in the scandal.
He set out his case in a lengthy interview in Lahore to a ‘Special Report’ on British-based satellite station Sky Sports News broadcast on Monday.
Sky put a figure of 29,000 pounds to him as the amount found in his room.
“Everybody knows the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) pays us daily allowances on tours and it was a long tour, so about 11,000 pounds of this money was from my daily allowances,” he said.
“Being captain I have extra entertainment allowance which amounts to about 4,500 pounds from the tour – which I had with me,” the 26-year-old opening batsman added.
“The rest of the money was advanced payment for my bat stickers which I was under contract by Capital Cricket which shows on the back of my bat.
“People can have their opinions but I know where the money came from.”
Pressed on whether the money was “clean”, Butt added: “Of course, 100 percent.
“2,500 pounds was given to me for the opening of an ice cream parlour in Tooting (south London).
“As you guys (Sky) are from England you can go there any time to Tooting. I believe the name is Afters and the manager, the people working over there, they will tell you that I had to do the opening of the ice cream parlour along with Mohammad Aamer.
“And that’s what we were paid for.”
Butt insisted there was no way as a novice skipper he could have improperly influenced Aamer and Asif.
“These kind of people do not let others decide their roles,” he argued.
Butt, Asif and Aamer have been suspended until the ICC hearing in Doha on January 6.
“I wish all three of us get back and play for our country which is our passion because we love cricket and we would love to get back and play for our country,” Butt said.
“I know inside what I am made of, where I have come from and how I have played my cricket and believe me it has been a lot of passion throughout my life...the love of the game has brought me there. And that love is bigger than anything, any corrupt thing which exists.
“So I believe, inshallah (god willing), that I will be back playing for my country again.”