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Butt banned after testing positive for ecstasy
date: 10-June-2005
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Yet another career derailed by prohibition......

THE Scotland cricketer Asim Butt will learn if he has any international future next week, after he admitted taking ecstasy before a key game.

The 37-year-old seam bowler was banned for a year by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after pleading guilty to taking the recreational drug prior to a home match against Somerset last month.

The ban leaves Scottish Saltires coach Andy Moles with a major headache three weeks before the World Cup qualifying tournament in Ireland.

Butt, who works as a shopkeeper in Edinburgh and also plays for Heriot's, now faces disciplinary action from Cricket Scotland following his admission, which has taken many in the sport by surprise.

Roddy Smith, chief executive of Cricket Scotland, confirmed Butt had been banned from the game until 31 May, 2006. He said: "Asim admitted to taking the drug recreationally in the week before the game against Somerset. He accepts he made a grave error of judgment and has let himself down, along with his family, his team-mates and Scottish cricket as a whole."

Butt, who has made 71 appearances for Scotland - taking 106 wickets and scoring 320 runs - was unavailable for comment yesterday after answering the charge at a ECB hearing in Birmingham. He had been summoned after failing a random test following Scotland's defeat by Somerset at the Citylets Grange ground in Edinburgh on 11 May.

A spokesman for the ECB said:

"The disciplinary panel took account of all the circumstances of the case including the facts that Butt is an amateur cricketer and that he admitted his involvement with MDMA (ecstasy)."

Scottish Saltires captain Craig Wright said: "We will miss Asim badly and on a personal level I am very sad - but we now have to move on."

It emerged last night that Heriot's had not given up hope of Butt being available next week. The Scottish league is outwith the jurisdiction of the ECB, and Heriot's are investigating whether Butt will be able to continue turning out for them.

Meanwhile, former Saltires coach Tony Judd called for random dope testing at all levels of Scottish cricket. "It has come as a total shock to me because Asim is pretty much the last bloke you'd expect to be involved in something like this."

However, Cricket Scotland said random testing was unlikely. A spokesman said: "There may or may not be widespread use of substances in the lower levels of the game but we simply don't have the money to find out."

Organisers of next month's ICC World Cup allow nominated members of the 14-strong squad to be replaced if they are injured - but they may not permit stand-in Greig Williamson to take part given the circumstances of Butt's absence.

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