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Butt coming to a screen near you

LAHORE, February 9 – Former Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt, banned for 10 years this week by an anti-corruption tribunal, said Wednesday he had signed up to give expert TV commentary at the World Cup.

Butt was banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) along with pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer following spot-fixing charges related to the Lord’s Test against England last August.

The 26-year-old Butt will give expert views for Pakistan’s Channel 5 station at the the World Cup, being jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from February 19 to April 2.

"I have signed a contract with a television channel to do expert commentary," Butt told AFP.

"As I am not playing in the event I thought it was worth participating as an expert."

A representative of Channel 5 confirmed to AFP the broadcaster had signed Butt.

Butt, who played 78 ODIs for Pakistan, scoring 2,725 runs at an average of 36.82, said he wanted to continue to be involved in the game despite the ban.

"My career is with cricket and I will play cricket, just for the World Cup I want to turn as expert," said Butt, who hopes the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the ICC do not object on his new role.

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The PCB has terminated the central contracts of all three players and barred them from playing any national or club level match, but it remains to be seen whether they or the ICC object to Butt appearing as expert during the event.

Butt, Asif and Aamer have all hinted they may appeal against the ICC sanctions, which followed allegations made in Britain’s News of the World tabloid.

They have 21 days — from February 5, when the bans were imposed — to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland.

Prosecutors in Britain have charged the three players over corruption and have summoned them in court on March 17.

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, fined in a match-fixing investigation in 2000, was reportedly left out of Britain’s Channel Four commentary team after objections to his new role in 2004.

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