In a major development, the Pakistan Cricket Board has included tainted former captain Salman Butt in the national selection panel ahead of Pakistan’s five-match T20I series against New Zealand next year.
The 39-year-old, who made a successful return to cricket in 2016 after serving a five-year ban for spot-fixing, has been named along with former teammates Kamran Akmal and Rao Iftikhar Anjum as consultant members to the recently-appointed chief selector, Wahab Riaz.
Butt was suspended for five years for his role in spot-fixing during the Pakistan and England Test match in August 2010.
After returning to cricket in 2016, Butt enjoyed a lot of success as a batter and captain in domestic competitions but was never considered for the national team again, even though his partner in crime, Muhammad Amir was fast-tracked back into the Pakistan side in 2016 by the board.
Butt, a former opener, was last month hired for commentary assignments by the PCB for domestic competitions and is currently busy in the National T20 Championship.
“Their first assignment as consultant members to the chief selector includes the upcoming five-match T20I series against New Zealand, set to commence on 12 January 2024 following the conclusion of the Test tour to Australia,” PCB said in a release.
“When not engaged in selection duties, the consultant members may be assigned additional tasks such as conducting skills camps.” Butt, Kamran, chief selector Wahab Riaz and former Test pacer, Anjum all played together in the Pakistan team alongside the Director of the Pakistan team, Muhammad Hafeez.
Kamran, in a 15-year career, played 53 Tests, 157 ODIs and 58 T20Is, while Butt appeared in 33 Tests, 78 ODIs and 24 T20Is, and Anjum played a Test, 62 ODIs and two T20Is from 2004 to 2010.
Butt, Amir and Muhammad Asif were all found guilty of spot-fixing by the national crime agency in the United Kingdom and also served time in jail and the International Cricket Council imposed the bans on them.
Butt, under whose captaincy Pakistan won a Test against Australia at Headingley and one against England at the Oval in 2010, has always complained of being treated unjustly while admitting his remorse over his actions.
A few years back, then-head coach Waqar Younis had recommended his name for a comeback to the national team, but former captain Shahid Afridi refused to let him make a comeback in the team.
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