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Saturday March 02, 2024

Salman Butt sacked following severe backlash

"I am reverting the decision and I have already spoken to Salman Butt," says chief selector Wahab Riaz

By Sports Desk
December 02, 2023

Following severe backlash, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Saturday sacked former batter Salman Butt within 24 hours of hiring him as a “consultant member” to chief selector Wahab Riaz.

The appointment of Butt — who was convicted and banned for spot-fixing in 2010 — as a member of the men’s national selection committee had triggered a controversy leaving former cricketers shocked by the development.

In a surprise move, the PCB on Friday announced that former international cricketers Kamran Akmal, Rao Iftikhar Anjum and Salman Butt were hired as “consultants” to the chief selector.

These were part of a slew of changes across the team’s management structure, which began following Babar Azam stepping down as captain and the appointment of Mohammad Hafeez as team director.

“People were talking all sorts of stuff about me and Salman Butt. Therefore, I am reverting the decision and I have already spoken to Salman Butt and I have told him that he cannot be part of my team,” Riaz told reporters at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore today.

“Some media houses and people are resorting to propaganda. Since we’re working under the chairmanship of Zaka Ashraf in a transparent manner, I am thankful to the board for allowing me to choose the people I want to work with.”

The PCB's decision to appoint former skipper Butt didn't sit well with social media users. Many fans opposed the appointment due to his role in the spot-fixing scandal in 2010.

In 2011, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison and banned from playing for 10 years for being involved in conspiracy to bowl deliberate no-balls during a 2010 Test match against England at Lord's.

Melbourne hero and former cricketer Sarfraz Nawaz said that such appointments would take national cricket back to those eras when match-fixing was rampant.

In response to a question, Riaz clarified that appointing Butt was solely his decision, but he was revoking it due to “propaganda”.

“There is no pressure on me. I had made a decision and I am revoking it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Wahab cited the examples of Indian cricket where players like Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja have taken roles.

"In India, we have examples of Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. 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," Wahab added.

Meanwhile, the former left-arm pacer confirmed the appointment of Test batter Asad Shafiq to the committee.

The 37-year-old will be seen assisting the team during the New Zealand T20I series as his initial assignment.

The delay in Shafiq joining the selection committee comes as he is due to play in the Sindh Premier League (SPL), which is scheduled to take place this month.

In the wake of Pakistan’s unsatisfactory performance during World Cup 2023, the PCB accelerated its efforts towards making major changes in the management and the team.

The changes surfaced on November 15 after Babar Azam stepped down as the captain from all formats following his meeting with PCB Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf after the former skipper was only offered to retain Test captaincy.

Soon after his resignation, the PCB named new captains for Test and T20I cricket with Shan Masood and Shaheen Afridi taking the realm of respective formats.

The PCB then appointed former cricketer Mohammad Hafeez as the director of the team, while Riaz assumed the role of chief selector.

Another former pacer Sohail Tanveer was named the head of the junior selection committee, while legendary batter Mohammad Yousuf was given the responsibility of coaching Pakistan’s U19 team.