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.” Rehabilitation 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. 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.
“They’re a great inside-out combo,” Highland coach Jeff Smith said. “There’s good players scattered throughout the Antelope Valley, but no one comes close to them.” Quartz Hill needs to find a reliable outside shooter to make a run in the Div. I-AA playoffs. Sean Fontenot has done a decent job, hitting 20 3-pointers, and Ryan Kelly is second on the team with 16. “There’s only so much Troy and Alex can do,” Nichter said. “Someone else is going to have to alleviate the pressure on them.” Crucial stretch: After splitting two road games last week, Highland, ranked No. 19 by the Daily News, returns home for key league games Wednesday against Knight and Friday against Littlerock. “We should do well. Really, we need to go 2-0,” Smith said. “If we don’t, making the playoffs is going to be a struggle.” The Bulldogs (8-8, 1-1) rely on Deno Anderson (14 point-per-game average), Ron Holden (13) and Donovan Phillips (11). Sean Ceglinsky, (818) 713-3607 email@example.com GOLDEN LEAGUE’S BEST TOP 10 SCORERS Minimum 14 games Team, PPG Troy Ross Quartz Hill 17.7 Alex Dantzler Quartz Hill 15.6 Robert Arnold Lancaster 15.1 Raymond Cody Antelope Valley 14.4 Ron Holden Highland 13.4 Steve Delatorre Knight 12.9 Robert Brown Knight 12.1 Javaughn Espiritt Lancaster 12.1 Donovan Phillips Highland 11.9 Sean Fontenot Quartz Hill 9.2160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Ross provides an imposing presence in the paint. The senior center averages 17.7 points, 13.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He’s had some monster efforts. Ross scored 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the opener against Burroughs of Burbank and followed it up with 26 points and 24 rebounds two days later against Arlington of Riverside. Ross nearly had a triple-double against Alemany of Mission Hills in early December, finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks in a 58-55 victory. He’s recorded double-doubles in 12 of 17 games. Dantzler is the playmaker. The 5-11 junior guard is averaging 15.8 points and 3.8 assists per game, and he is disruptive defensively, averaging 4.6 steals per outing. He has struggled from 3-point range, making just 15 percent (8 of 53), and at the free-throw line, converting 48 percent (45 of 94). One-two punches don’t get much better than Troy Ross and Alex Dantzler. The tandem is largely responsible for the quick start the Quartz Hill High boys’ basketball team (9-8 overall, 2-0 Golden League) has enjoyed this season, and their play will go far in determining if the Rebels can defend their league title and make a run in the Southern Section playoffs. “We know what we have in them,” Quartz Hill coach Bernard Nichter said. “Without them, we’re a different team. We would struggle.” Quartz Hill resumes league play Wednesday at Palmdale and plays Friday at Lancaster (10-7, 2-0), which also has a share of first place.