Rehabilitation Responsibility accepted Both players ultimately accepted their responsibility before the ICC lifted their bans. The PCB agreed a six-month rehabilitation programme for the duo that included lectures to younger cricketers on anti-corruption before allowing them to compete in domestic matches. “I am very relaxed, the toughest phase of my life is over,” Asif said. “This one-day tournament will help me gauge where I stand … International cricket is my target but I have to do well in the domestic matches before I can hope (for) international cricket.” Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said last week that, if they perform well in domestic matches, both players deserve another chance in international cricket. ISLAMABAD (AP): Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt smashed a century and fast bowler Mohammad Asif took two wickets as the convicted spot-fixers made their first appearance yesterday in competitive cricket after being away for more than five years. Butt scored 135 off 143 balls with 14 fours while Asif took 2-22 as they led the Water and Power Development Authority to a convincing 141-run victory over Federally Administered Tribal Areas in a one-day cup match in Hyderabad. “I hope that this is the new beginning,” Butt said. “As long as I will get more matches, I will improve.” Both players were eligible to compete from last September when their bans ended but first had to go through the Pakistan Cricket Board’s rehabilitation programme. Asif, Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Amir were banned for at least five years for deliberate no-balls at a 2010 Test match against England. Butt was captain of the team for the Lord’s Test. Amir pleaded guilty from the onset, which accelerated the left-arm fast bowler’s return to the national team, Butt and Asif went on to challenge the bans until their appeals were rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Transfers Giroud airs Hazard hope amid Chelsea exit talk Chris Burton 19:12 5/18/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Transfers Chelsea Premier League Olivier Giroud Eden Hazard The Blues striker is eager to see a talented playmaker remain at Stamford Bridge this summer and continue working on a promising attacking partnership Olivier Giroud is hoping to see Eden Hazard remain at Chelsea this summer, despite the Belgian playmaker keeping his options open amid much transfer talk.The Blues have been able to fend off interest in a talismanic presence during past windows, with the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain having been long-standing suitors of a two-time Premier League champion.It may, however, be that their resolve is tested again over the coming weeks, with Hazard having admitted that he will wait to discover Chelsea’s recruitment plans before making a decision on his own future. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Those at Stamford Bridge no longer have Champions League football to use as a bargaining tool, both for possible incomings and outgoings, but Giroud is eager to see them retain the services of a man he has struck up a positive working relationship with since arriving from Arsenal in January.The France international striker told the Evening Standard: “Of course I want Eden to stay – who doesn’t want to play with him?“I want to carry on working on our partnership. The two of us have only been playing together a short time but we have a good relationship on the field. We play close together because that’s what the manager wants us to do. “Obviously when we are in the same areas on the pitch we can find ourselves much better. “We like to play together because we have a good understanding, we have different qualities that complement each other. It is easy to play with him. “Eden and I are good friends off the pitch as well. He is a nice person, he is easy to get along with. I knew him before I came to Chelsea. “We fought for the title in France when I was at Montpellier and he was at Lille. I didn’t know him personally then but I never had any doubts that we would form a good understanding. “He has the same way of playing football and we share the same ideas.”Giroud has managed five goals in his 17 appearances for Chelsea so far, with one more outing set to be taken in on Saturday when the Blues face Manchester United in the FA Cup final.That contest could be the last for any number of figures on the Blues’ books, with the speculation surrounding Hazard’s future nowhere near as intense as that suggesting that Antonio Conte is set to be relieved of his managerial duties regardless of the outcome against the Red Devils.