Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt is hoping an unexpected call to play in the Pakistan Super League will help him regain his place in the national team.
The 34-year-old said he was delighted to join the Lahore Qalandars in the ongoing PSL as a replacement for Mohammad Hafeez, who was ruled out after fracturing his thumb in the clash against Karachi Kings.
"After a long time I received one of the best messages of my life when Lahore called me to play in the PSL, and I am very happy to get this opportunity," Butt told AFP.
The league's growing popularity means it is the first big chance for the left-handed batsman’s road to redemption since his high-profile ban for a spot-fixing scandal which emerged on Pakistan's infamous tour of England in 2010.
Butt, captain of Pakistan's Test team at the time, was charged for orchestrating deliberate no-balls from his pace bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif during the Lord's Test in return for money.
He was banned for five years in total, as were Asif and Amir.
Though they completed their bans in September 2015, only Mohammad Amir was able to cement his spot and represent Pakistan in all three formats.
"It's been a long time and I have been doing all my training and playing domestic cricket and trying my best to play for Pakistan," said Butt.
Since his return to domestic cricket in Pakistan, he has topped the batting charts, finishing with 536 runs in the National One-Day Cup in early 2016 – his first tournament since being cleared to play.
He scored 741 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy – Pakistan’s premier first class competition – with twin hundreds in the final to help his team to the title in December 2016.
Butt said he hopes he has done his penance.
"It's been a long and hard path, but thankfully this is the first step and if I can carry on doing well things will work out, Inshallah," he said.
Before his ban Butt had played 33 Tests, 78 one-day internationals and 24 Twenty20 matches for Pakistan.