Former Australian legends warn Pakistan against recalling Salman Butt
With Pakistan struggling to find a useful opening combination and having to push Azhar Ali up the order as a result, there have been talks of issuing a recall to the controversial Salman Butt who has been in prolific form in the domestic circuit.
However, former Australian greats Michael Hussey and Ryan Harris have cautioned Pakistan against bringing the tainted opener back into their setup. Unlike Mohammad Amir’s case, they argued that Butt does not deserve a way back into international cricket.
Speaking to Fox Sports, Harris pointed out to Amir’s age in 2010 when he was caught in the infamous spot-fixing scandal alongside Butt and expressed concern regarding the reactions of opposition players should the former skipper return to the Pakistan side.
When asked about the possibility of Butt making a comeback, Harris responded, “I'm not a big fan of it. I know Mohammad Amir is playing here, I'm fifty-fifty on that. I obviously don't think he should be here, but he was 17 years old – whether that was an excuse, I'm still trying to work.”
“But Salman Butt, the captain who told his players to go out and cheat, there's no room for that in the game. I'm not sure how the opposition players would take playing against him for one, but definitely not. I know he's done the crime, done the time. I still think that was a pretty lenient time, five years.”
During Pakistan’s 2010 tour to England, Butt was found to have conspired with Asif and Amir who deliberately bowled no-balls in the Lord’s Test for a pre-decided sum of money. After serving varying prison sentences and participating in anti-corruption programs, the trio’s ban was reduced to five years. While Amir was reintegrated into the Pakistani team earlier this year, Butt and Asif have not been able to convince the selectors yet.
At the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the duo played for the same team (Water & Port Development Authority) whom the left-handed batsman led to the title. Having scored 741 runs from 10 matches at an average of 49.40 with 4 centuries and 2 fifties, he expressed keenness to slot back into the national side.
However, Hussey disagreed, “It doesn't sit well with me. Some would argue he has done his time and been allowed back in, much like Mohammad Amir. But you've got to remember Amir was a 17-year-old kid being directed by Salman Butt to do the wrong thing. I have a bit more sympathy for Amir. But Salman Butt, it doesn't sit well to have him back in international cricket.”
Despite their displeasure with the development, Butt could find a way back especially seeing how Pakistan have been struggling away from Asia in recent times.