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Pakistan considering Salman Butt for national team, confirms Inzamam-ul-Haq

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has been in a red-hot form ever since he returned to cricket after serving a five-year spot-fixing ban.

cricket Updated: Sep 24, 2017 16:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Salman Butt,Inzamam-ul-Haq,Pakistan cricket team
Salman Butt has completed his five-year ban from cricket.(Getty Images)

Pakistan cricket team’s chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has confirmed ‘considering’ drafting in former captain Salman Butt into the national side, after being impressed with his form in the domestic circuit.

Pakistani selectors have reportedly derived a plan to ‘reintegrate’ Butt into the national team, after the left-handed batsman made a strong return to cricket post serving his spot-fixing ban for five years.

According to ESPNCricinfo, Butt could be given a chance with the Pakistan A team for assessing his contention for a place in the national side. Earlier this year, a similar plan was dropped after the Pakistan Super League (PSL) spot-fixing scandal broke out.

Inzamam said in a press conference on Saturday, “He is playing very well after his comeback and we are considering him. He was there in our high-performance camp and he was exceptional. It’s fantastic to see that a player has been out for five years but still maintained a high standard of fitness.”

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“He has checked all the boxes for his selection and we have a plan. We are not selecting him directly in the international circuit but we are trying to have him play in the A team first and then we will take it from there,” Inzamam added.

Butt smacked a century in the National One-Day Cup in January last year, and went on to amass 536 runs at 107.20 in the tournament, finishing as the second-highest run-scorer.

The 32-year-old was making a comeback having served his five-year ban from cricket due to his role in the spot-fixing scandal, during Pakistan’s tour of England 2010.

Butt carried his form in First-Class cricket, scoring two centuries for the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) team to contribute in their win in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final. Butt averaged an impressive 49.40, scoring 741 runs in the tournament.

His form in the shortest format has been impressive as well, as Butt finished at the second spot in the list of most run-scorers with 350 runs at an average of 70.

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The report added that Pakistani selectors have contemplated Butt’s case on several occasions, and even the current team management under Mickey Arthur have been impressed with the batsman. However, they have left it entirely on the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to decide over his case.

Former captain Misbah-ul-Haq and coach Waqar Younis were left impressed too with Butt’s form, especially when Pakistan were struggling to find stability at the top of the order.

Butt might have even made his international comeback during Pakistan’s tour of the West Indies earlier this year, with the PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan clearing his ‘possible’ selection in public. The report claimed that however, the negative impression created by the PSL spot-fixing case proved to be regressive for Butt.

Before his ban, Butt had fixated himself firmly in Pakistan cricket team, even rising to the post of the team’s captaincy. He has so far played 33 Tests, 78 ODIs and 24 T20Is for Pakistan.

First Published: Sep 24, 2017 16:16 IST