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Comprehensive rehab programme for tainted trio unveiled

Comprehensive rehab programme for tainted trio unveiled

LAHORE: The return of the spot-fixing tainted trio — Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir — to international cricket is not possible before Feb 28, 2016 as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday issued a comprehensive six-month road map for the rehabilitation of these players.

However, Salman and Asif will be allowed to start cricket at district and club level from Sept 2, the date when the ban on the two imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) will go.

The first phase of the rehab programme started on Wednesday, with Salman and Asif attending a lecture from the PCB officer on vigilence and corruption as the first step in a rehabilitation process towards playing at domestic level, said PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan.

Though all the three players were banned by the ICC in a major spot-fixing case that erupted during Pakistan’s Test against England at Lord’s in 2010, Amir has already started playing domestic cricket, featuring in a Grade-II tournament for Omar Associates.

Now while the left-armer Amir, 23, will represent Rawalpindi Region in the National T20 tournament starting on Sept 1, he still has to complete the rehab.

But Salman and Asif are only allowed to play district and club cricket till the completion of rehab on Feb 28 next year.

“Following the ICC decision that it has no objection to full return of Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt to cricket with effect from Sept 2, 2015, subject to them fulfilling the conditions laid down by the independent anti-corruption tribunal, the PCB after seeking clarification and considering a number of factors that have a direct bearing on the team, has devised this reintegration/rehabilitation plan for smooth integration of the three players into cricket,” a PCB press release stated.

“PCB chairman Shaharyar M. Khan said: ‘We had to consider the effect of an immediate induction of these players into cricket, the acceptability of these players amongst their fellow cricketers, the anticipated negative slogans at the grounds from cricket fans and its effect on the other players and the banned players’ own strength to deal with these pressures.

“Having considered all these factors we have come up with an action plan that will ensure a smooth and gradual induction of these players into cricket leading up to a full integration upon completion of the rehabilitation and education programme,” it added.

According to the PCB press release, the rehabilitation plan devised for the three players is as follows:

From Aug 26-Sept 1, the trio will work with PCB Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department in preparing lectures to be delivered to the players.

Following that, from Sept 2-Oct 30, they will deliver lectures in 16 regions subject to the availability of the players there.

Asif and Salman will start playing district level and club cricket from Sept 2 and they, along with Amir, will start practising regularly at the National Cricket Academy except when the national players are there.

That move is to avoid any untoward incident with the players being able to use the NCA at will once the rehabilitation programme is completed.

All three players, meanwhile, are required to maintain fitness levels and achieve the levels of 11 of bleep test for three consecutive months — September, October and November 2015. This should be conducted under the supervision of the NCA specialist staff who will submit their report to the PCB.

From Sept 5 to Dec 31, the players will pay regular visits to Edhi homes, orphanages and places like Army Public School (Peshawar) in order to publicly contribute towards social responsibility obligations.

The trio, meanwhile, will have integration sessions with bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed and team Pakistan members till Feb 28, 2016, in order to foster acceptability for probable future congenial environment in the dressing room in first-class/international engagements.

“The players should have an apologetic attitude towards their fellow players, selectors and other stakeholders as a sign of sincere remorse,” the press release stated.

While Amir’s rehabilitation and education programme has already commenced, Salman and Asif have to feature in each step of the action plan.

The duo have to also attend sessions with a psychologist spread over two days from Sept 15 to prepare themselves to deal with pressures on their return.

“The PCB expects that as a consequence of this rehabilitation and education programme the three cricketers will be ready for a full integration into cricket,” the press release concluded.

AFP adds: Meanwhile, Asif said he had agreed to complete the rehabilitation course the PCB has set out for him.

“Of course, its a detailed process but I will try to complete it as soon as possible and agree to it. I will play at lower level and then in first-class cricket,” he told reporters in Lahore.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2015

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