Salman Butt, announced by the PCB as part of a three-man selection panel yesterday (December 1), will no longer be taking up his new role following significant backlash to his appointment.
The PCB had confirmed that Butt, Kamran Akmal and Iftikhar Anjum would form a selection panel, acting in a consulting capacity to chief selector Wahab Riaz. Butt’s appointment drew significant criticism from certain sections of Pakistan cricket.
The 39-year-old served prison time and a lengthy ban from cricket for his part in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal. Butt was Pakistan captain at the time, with Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir bowling deliberate no-balls in the Lord’s Test against England.
Addressing the media, Wahab confirmed that Butt would not be joining his team. “I am reverting that decision and I’ve already spoken to Salman Butt and told him that he cannot be a part of my team because I do not want that people link us in any way,” he said.
However, Wahab defended the initial decision to appoint Butt, and criticized the response of the media to his decision.
“I firstly want to clarify that he is not on any PCB panel. Secondly, he is a good cricketing mind who understands cricket and has been covering domestic cricket for the past two to three years.
“He was made my consultant only as far as taking his opinion is concerned on which some people and media houses are probably doing propaganda, trying to ruin affairs and linking me with it.”
Wahab also confirmed that the decision was his, but that he had received the backing of PCB chief Zaka Ashraf in doing so.
“As the chief selector, I decide who will be the people working with me and who I will need the support of,” he said. “There is no one else’s pressure. It was my decision and I am reverting it. I think it is very necessary for people to understand to move forward in life.”
Pakistan’s squad for their next assignment, a three-Test series in Australia, has already been named. The first task for the selection panel will be to advise on the squad for the five-match T20I series against New Zealand which follows the Australia tour. No replacement for Butt on the panel has been named yet.