“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.
The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision to appoint fixing-tainted former skipper Salman Butt as one of the three consultants along with Kamran Akmal and Rao Iftikhar Anjum, is likely to raise a few eyebrows. In a complete overhaul of their high-performance system, the PCB had earlier named Wahab Riaz as the chief selector with the trio appointed as consultants to the former quick.
Butt, who was suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for his alleged involvement in the infamous spot-fixing scandal during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010, was on Friday named as one of the consultants as part of the PCB’s plan to ring in fresh energy following the debacle at the recently-concluded ICC World Cup in India. While Babar Azam stepped down as skipper, the PCB didn’t waste a day in appointing Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shan Masood as the captains in the T20I and Test formats, respectively.
Butt, who was the then Pakistan captain, along with two other players — Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, had conspired to bowl no-balls at specific moments in the Lord’s Test against England at the behest of a bookie, earning them bans from the global cricket body.
After the ICC’s ban, the British Crown court had also convicted the trio and sentenced them to spells in prison. Butt served seven months in Canterbury Prison in Kent and was released in 2012. While Amir and Asif both played for Pakistan, Butt only played domestic cricket after his ban was over.
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.
Meanwhile, Akmal had a 15-year career for Pakistan from 2002 to 2017, during which he played 53 Tests, 157 ODIs and 58 T20Is. Iftikhar played one Test, 62 ODIs and two T20Is for Pakistan from 2004 to 2010 and took a total of 78 international wickets. He was also part of the side that lifted the T20 World Cup in 2009.
A release from the PCB said that the first assignment for Akmal, Iftikhar and Butt as consultants to the chief selector would include the upcoming five-match T20I series against New Zealand, set to commence on January 12 following the conclusion of the Test tour to Australia.