Karachi, May 7: Pakistan’s banned fast bowler Mohammad Asif, who was released from British jail Friday, said former captain Salman Butt, with whom he shared a cell, was lonely and depressed and eagerly waiting to end his prison term.
“Salman and I were sharing the same room for three months in the prison and he wished me good luck on the day of my release. But he (Salman) is a lonely man and looked very depressed on the day of my release from jail. He has been quite miserable at times and is anxiously awaiting his release,” Dawn quoted Asif as saying.
Asif and Butt shared a cell at the Canterbury Prison in Kent. The duo, along with their other team mate Mohammad Aamer and their agent Mazhar Majeed, were sentenced by London’s Southwark Crown Court to 30, 12, 6 and 32 months in jail respectively. The court found them guilty of conspiring to cheat and accept corrupt payments over bowling deliberate no-balls bowled during the Lord’s Test against England in August 2010.
Asif said there were very few Muslims in the prision and they were given a option by the authorities to share a cell.
“There were very few Muslims in the prison and we both were first asked whether we could share the same room. We immediately agreed. Having a non-muslim room partner could have made life difficult for both me and Salman,” he said.
Asked if he had an ill feelings against Butt, Asif said: “No, there were no ill-feelings between us. In fact, we were like two brothers in the prison. Both of us were made gym in-charge where we played badminton and football.”
Asif said that the bond between the two grew stronger in prison.
Asif said he remained in touch with his family in Pakistan over telephone while Butt’s family members visited him in the prison.
“Every month in the jail, Salman’s wife (Gul), his elder son and mother paid a visit there. But his younger son has been denied a visa again and therefore could not see him,” he said.
Asif said now he wants to clear his name.
“My strong legal team is preparing a case and hopefully I will be able to clear my name,” he said.