Ever since becoming eligible to play for Pakistan again back in 2015 after serving his ban for the infamous spot-fixing scandal in 2010, former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt was questioned whether he was approached by one of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchises. The southpaw has been overlooked by the selectors of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) following his return in the domestic fold.
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Management further asked Butt whether any of the members of the selection committee sat down with him about a possible return to the national team.
Mohammad Amir was fast-tracked into the national team after serving his ban:
These sort of questions has sprung up after exciting left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir was fast-tracked into the national team just after serving the lengthy ban. The PCB had requested world governing body International Cricket Council (ICC) to permit him to come back to domestic cricket.
ICC granted the permission as Amir showed remarkable progress in rehabilitation programmes.
Amir was welcomed back to Pakistan especially because Pakistan needed a match winner bowler like him. Moreover, he was just 17 years old when he sinned bowling those deliberate no-balls.
Age was definitely on his side. However, that was not the case with Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt. Both were established cricketers in the Pakistan team, and hence there were no voices in favour of the duo.
Butt was lambasted for being the culprit in forcing someone like Aamir to commit the crime. Meanwhile, he hogged the limelight during his return to the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. He led the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to their maiden title win in Pakistan’s premier fast class tournament. He smashed a couple of the fifties and four centuries in 10 matches.
Known for his pragmatic approach, Butt scored 741 runs at an average of 49.40. He also led them to the final of the tournament in 2017.
Moreover, he was told by the selectors that he would be on the plane to Windies for a three-match Test series. However it never really transpired.
PCB prevented his comeback after the 2017 spot-fixing case. Following more than a year, he Butt is very disappointed with the outcome.
Salman Butt asks the criteria for inclusion in PSL:
“Some of the players [who were banned after the PSL spot-fixing scandal broke out] have served minor bans and are now playing again, and I am still stuck there,” Butt told Cricbuzz after Stumps on the opening day of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
“This makes no sense that I have to bear consequences of someone else’s actions. It is common sense. I have done my job. I have completed my rehab and served my punishment. Should have no link whether someone does anything right or wrong,” he added.
Butt also scored 328 runs for Lahore Whites at an average of 109 in the last domestic tournament.
However, he is unaware of the selection criteria in the tournament. He was asked whether any franchise approached him.
“I don’t know what new criteria, other than scoring runs, has surfaced in this country. The franchises can better explain the grounds on which they pick players,” he said.
Pakistan is all set to host England Lions and New Zealand A in UAE later in the year with Australia taking the centre stage. If reports are to be believed. Butt may get his first national call-up following his unceremonious exit from the team. The 33-year-old said he hadn’t received any official communication on this particular regard.
“Nobody [from the board] has contacted me. Inzi (Inzamam-Ul-Haq] Bhai had said in a press conference that I would be tried in the A team first. That time the A tour did not happen. Now with the series upcoming, it is good that you have reminded of it,” he concluded.
Pakistan Cricket Board is yet to announce the squad for Asia Cup 2018 squad as Salman Butt is waiting in the wings to make a return to top-flight cricket.