Pakistan head coach backs Butt and Asif for a comeback
Waqar Younis, the head coach of the Pakistan national cricket team, has backed an international comeback for convicted spot-fixers Salman Butt and Mohammed Asif. He said that they should not be treated any differently from the reconditioned pacer Mohammed Amir.
In an interview Waqar said, "The way I see it if Butt and Asif perform well in their comeback in domestic cricket why can't they be considered for a second chance to play international cricket? All the three did the same wrong and also underwent the same punishment so why should they be treated differently."
After serving a five-year ban, Butt scored a hundred in his first competitive match on January 10 in the national one-day championship. Asif also left an impact on the same day as he picked up two wickets.
I think Butt and Asif deserve same chance as Amir: Waqar
Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan and national T20 captain Shahid Afridi have said the duo's case differs from Amir and it will not be easy for them to make an international comeback. Afridi said that the duo do not deserve a second chance as they lied for three years. Asif and Butt also criticised the national team when they were banned for five years.
When Waqar was asked to comment on this, he said, "I don't know what Shahid (Afridi) is thinking maybe he has his reasons but generally I think Butt and Asif deserve same chance as Amir and if they show form and fitness, why not consider them for selection?"
Waqar said he just feels it is time to move on and support the players. He said, "Look we basically cut their hands by banning them from all cricket for five years, it was a strong punishment for what they did. Now that they have served their punishment and appear to have learnt their lesson why shouldn't they be given a second chance, it could also be good for Pakistan cricket. There has never been any doubt about their cricket abilities."
The former Pakistan captain also urged people to forgive the three players and support them. He added, "There were reservations among the players when Amir joined the camp but things have improved and I think everything will settle down with time. We expect some reaction from the crowd and generally in New Zealand but it will go away with time. I just think right now we are putting too much pressure on Amir and he needs to be now allowed to focus on cricket only."