Butt represented Pakistan in 33 Tests, 78 ODIs and 24 T20Is. He made 5,209 runs spanning the three formats with 11 international centuries. He was in the T20 World Cup winning squad in 2009.
Under fire for appointing fixing-tainted former skipper Salman Butt as one of the consultants in the selection panel headed by Wahab Riaz, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) revoked the decision in merely 24 hours. The appointment was met with fierce internal resistance within the cricket board and also warranted the intervention of care-taker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.
However, while making the announcement of Butt’s name being withdrawn from the consultancy panel with immediate effect, Riaz cited examples of former India cricketers Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja working in official roles despite previously being involved in match-fixing.
“There is no pressure on me. I had made a decision and I am revoking it. In India, we have examples of Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja,” Riaz said.
“They are working in cricket now and there is no fuss. Azharuddin is president of one of the cricket associations and Jadeja was Afghanistan’s batting consultant in the World Cup. People were talking all sorts of stuff about me and Salman Butt,” he added.
Riaz further said that he had been accused of giving Butt, known to be his close friend, preferential treatment, and that he wanted to shield himself against those allegations.
“Therefore, I am reversing the decision and I have already spoken to Salman Butt and I have told him that he cannot be part of my team. Some media houses and people are resorting to propaganda,” he said.
Butt had admitted to spot-fixing in a Test match at Lord’s, and was subsequently banned from the sport for five years. He also served his time in jail in England. As captain, Butt had convinced pacers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif to bowl no-balls in return for a hefty payment in the Lord’s Test against England in 2010. After being convicted, Butt was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison but was released early.
Butt represented Pakistan in 33 Tests, 78 ODIs and 24 T20Is. He was in the T20 World Cup winning squad in 2009. But his international career ended after the incident. He played domestic cricket and the Pakistan Super League (PSL) after returning from his ban, and has taken up a role as an analyst for various media outlets.
On Saturday, PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s office also released a statement, stating that the decision could tarnish the PCB’s image.
“The caretaker PM took strict notice of the controversial player Salman Butt’s appointment in the selection committee. This controversial appointment was immediately canceled on the instructions of the Prime Minister. There is no shortage of talent in Pakistan, the selection committee of players for a popular and favorite sport like cricket should also be uncontroversial. The PM directed to include undisputed and good reputation selectors in the selection committee of Pakistan Cricket Board,” it read.
Wahab said that a replacement will be announced for the role shortly, while indicating that Asad Shafiq could be appointed to the position.