Pakistan Cricket Board drops ex-captain Salman Butt from selection panel after backlash

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has dropped ex-cricketer Salman Butt from its panel of consultants for team selection, Chief Selector Wahab Riaz announced Saturday, following backlash over Butt’s appointment. 

The PCB announced the appointment of Butt along with Kamran Akmal and Rao Iftikhar Anjum as consultants to Riaz on Friday, amid a reshuffle in the national side and the board’s management.  

Pakistanis took to social media and strongly criticized the PCB for the appointment of Butt, who was sent to prison in 2011 and banned from playing for 10 years for his part in a conspiracy to bowl deliberate no-balls during a 2010 Test match against England at Lord’s. 

Speaking at a press conference at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, Riaz said it was his decision to appoint Butt his consultant as he understood cricket. 

“Salman Butt’s name has now been withdrawn,” he said, adding that there was no pressure from anyone. 

“I took the decision to make Salman Butt a consultant. Now, I am also taking the decision to remove Salman Butt.” 

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. 

His appointment came as part of a reshuffle that began amid Pakistan’s poor show at the World Cup that saw the national side crashing out of the showpiece tournament even before the semi-final stage. Pakistan finished fifth in the 10-team World Cup tournament that culminated last month, with Australia lifting the trophy for a record sixth time. 

Following below-par performance of the team, Babar Azam resigned from the captaincy in all formats and Shan Masood was made test captain. Shaheen Afridi was appointed as skipper of T20 side.  

Riaz was appointed Pakistan’s chief selector last month, after Inzamam-ul-Haq stepped down in October following allegations of a conflict of interests, while former captain Mohammad Hafeez was named as team director, who will also be the head coach of the team on the twin tours of Australia and New Zealand. 

The PCB last month also appointed former international players Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal as bowling coaches for the national team.