Karachi: He was indicted by the ICC for spot fixing and is also facing criminal charges for corruption but Pakistan cricketer Salman Butt still finds it `odd` to be barred from playing cricket.
Butt along with compatriots Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer was banned for at least five years by the ICC for their involvement in spot-fixing during the Lord`s Test against England.
The three players have challenged their respective bans in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) but no date has been fixed for the hearing as yet.
Butt, who led the Test side, pleaded innocence to the spot-fixing and corruption charges against him.
"Playing international cricket isn`t easy and I had to give everything in order to make a livelihood out of the game. Right now, I`m training to keep fit. I`m barred from playing cricket at any level and I find that very odd," Butt told a daily newspaper.
The left-handed batsman said his passion for the game is alive despite all the controversies."The enthusiasm cannot be forced, it`s a gift from God. The spirit is still high and love for the game never dies," he said.
After being banned by the ICC the Crown Prosecution Service of the United Kingdom slapped corruption and cheating charges against the Pakistani trio.
Butt said he was prepared to fight a long battle to prove his innocence despite the odds stacked against him."I will not give up the right and remain optimistic about redeeming myself."
First Published: Friday, May 27, 2011, 15:44