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Career

Early career

Salman Butt started in the Under-17s and quickly progressed through to Under-19 level, although at the time he was much younger than the age limits suggest, making his senior debut for Lahore Whites in 2000 aged only 19. His talent was noticed immediately, which led to him being given a place in the Pakistan A team against England soon after. However, instead of rushing straight for the limelight of international cricket, he got his head down and consolidated by playing consistently for his region and the youth teams, until the Pakistan selectors finally drafted him in 2003.

International cricket

After his debut, Butt was dropped and struggled to regain his place due to some stiff competition for the openers' spots. He returned for the Champions' Trophy in 2004 and scored his first fifty for Pakistan in the Paktel Cup against Sri Lanka. In the ODI against India on 13 November 2004, as Pakistan chased down 292, he formed partnerships first with Shoaib Malik, putting on 113, and subsequently with Inzamam-Ul-Haq. Despite having to retire hurt for seven overs due to severe cramp, he returned to steer Pakistan home, finishing on 108 not out.

Yet 2005 saw little improvement, and doubts circulated about his defensive technique, causing him to be shuffled in and out of the side. But things started looking up again during the winter Test series against England, in which he scored a century and two fifties, with a more cautious attitude to his innings building than he had previously shown.

Appointment as Test captain

On 17 July 2010, the Pakistan Cricket Board appointed Butt as captain of the Pakistani Test squad in place of Shahid Afridi, who announced his retirement from Test cricket after Pakistan lost the first test match against Australia. He became the 28th captain of the Pakistani Test team and the fifth to lead them since January 2009.

On 23 July 2010, Salman Butt led Pakistan to victory against Australia in his first appearance as Pakistan's test team captain.

Spot-fixing

In August 2010, Butt and two other players, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, were among those named by a News of the World sting where undercover reporters paid an agent loosely affiliated with several players on Pakistan's squad a bribe in return for detailed information on when no-balls would be deliberately bowled.

Butt, Amir, and Asif were dropped from Pakistan's team for the limited-over series (two Twenty20 games, and five ODI games), however, on 2 September 2010, after the warm-up List A game between Pakistan and Somerset, the International Cricket Council announced that they had suspended Asif, Amir and Butt under the provision of the provisions of the ICC's Anti-Corruption Code. The statement from the ICC stated that the three players were charged under various offences under Article 2 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code for Players and Player Support Personnel relating to alleged irregular behaviour during, and in relation to, the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's last month.

Later it became known that Butt and the other two players implicated in the scandal were in possession of bills with the same serial numbers as those the reporter had paid Majeed earlier. Butt was provisionally suspended from playing International Cricket due to the fact that the ICC wanted his name cleared before he resumes playing cricket. In late September, Butt filed an appeal to the ICC asking them to lift his temporary suspension. After Mohammad Asif had dropped his appeal against the charges so that he can understand the charges filed against him, Butt said he was determining to prove his innocence and that his appeal was going to go ahead.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Butt stated I do not want to comment on The News of the World because everybody knows what kind of paper it is. Everybody knows about its reputation across the world. He also stated that he was linked to Mazhar Majeed as a player agent but not in any spot-fixing. He also stated that the video can easily be edited and modified and manipulated One day before the hearing Butt continued to state his innocence The tribunal announced that a verdict on the decision had been deferred to 5 February 2011 and that the ICC also stated that the tribunal would rule on charges pertaining to the third Test match between England and Pakistan. Butt was the only player before the tribunal to face these additional charges.

On 5 February 2011 the three-man tribunal handed down its verdict. One charge was dismissed against Butt from the third Test match (batting out a maiden over), but the other charges (failing to report an advance from the third Test match and ordering Asif and Amir to bowl no-balls in the fourth Test) were proved, and Butt was banned from the sport of cricket for ten years, five of which were suspended should he not commit any further offences and participate in a Pakistani Cricket Board anti-corruption program.

On 1 November 2011, Butt was convicted at Southwark Crown Court, along with Amir and Asif, of conspiracy to cheat at gambling and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments. On 3 November 2011, Salman Butt was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison for this offence. Butt, along with Amir, appealed against the length of their sentences, however this was dismissed by Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justiceon 23 November. In June 2012, Salmam Butt sought an open trial of his on-spot fixing case in Pakistan as, according to him, he did not get justice in Britain.

Playing style

An accumulator, he works very hard for scoring runs, not indulging in too many big hits; his statistics showing a low amount of nineteen international sixes to date (1 September 2010) of which he's scored 10 in Twenty20 cricket 7 in One-Day International and only has one six to his name in Test cricket. He scores a lot of his runs between backward point and extra cover. He uses his superb wrist work to angle the bat, placing the ball into gaps using the pace of the ball to his advantage; a very good technique for ODIs where it is best to keep the scoreboard ticking all the time. He also has the ability to cut the ball very fine down to third man if there are no slips, especially against spin bowlers, as he showed to great effect in his above-mentioned innings of 108 not out. These are his specialities, but he has large range of shots. However, many commentators have expressed that his defensive technique has flaws, and that he is prone to playing at balls outside off-stump which should be left.

Test centuries

Test Match Centuries of Salman Butt
# Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Year
1 108 4  Australia Sydney, Australia Sydney Cricket Ground 2005
2 122 7  England Multan, Pakistan Multan Cricket Stadium 2005
3 102 27  Australia Hobart, Australia Bellerive Oval 2010

One Day International centuries

ODI Centuries of Salman Butt
  Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Year
1 108* 6  India Kolkata, India Eden Gardens 2004
2 101 16  India Jamshedpur, India Keenan Stadium 2005
3 101 27  India Peshawar, Pakistan Arbab Niaz Stadium 2006
4 129 38  India Kanpur, India Green Park Stadium 2007
5 132 47  Bangladesh Lahore, Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium 2008
6 136 49  Bangladesh Karachi, Pakistan National Stadium 2008
7 129* 51  India Dhaka, Bangladesh Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium 2008
8 100* 61  Sri Lanka Karachi, Pakistan National Stadium 2009
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