LAHORE -The intervention of Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, who is the Patron-in-Chief of PCB, forced the cricket board to withdraw Salman Butt’s name as the consultant to chief selector Wahab Riaz a day after he was appointed to the position. The move ended Butt’s selection career before it started. Earlier on Friday, the PCB officially announced the inclusion of former cricketers Kamran Akmal, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, and Salman Butt as consultant members. However, within a day, on Saturday, the PCB reversed its decision regarding Salman Butt, soon after the Prime Minister has taken serious notice of the appointment of Salman Butt, a controversial former cricket player.
In a press release issued by the PM Office Media Wing on Saturday, the Caretaker Prime Minister emphasized that Pakistan boasts an abundance of talent. Given the immense popularity of cricket, the nation’s favorite sport, the Prime Minister emphasized the need for the selection committee to operate free from any controversy. He explicitly instructed the inclusion of selectors known for their non-controversial stance and reputable standing as integral members of the PCB Selection Committee.
Laster on Saturday night, Wahab Riaz, while addressing a press conference at the PCB Headquarters, clarified that the decision to withdraw Salman Butt’s name was entirely his own. He emphasized Butt’s completion of his sentence and urged everyone to move forward, expressing frustration over perceived agendas against both himself and Salman Butt. Defending his initial decision, Wahab Riaz said: “I was facing criticism for appointing Salman Butt, with allegations of favoring friendships. To avoid unnecessary controversy, I chose to reverse my decision on Salman Butt.”
Wahab Riaz also pointed to examples in Indian cricket, where players like Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja have seamlessly transitioned into administrative roles without controversy. “In India, we have examples of Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. They are working in cricket now, and there is no fuss. Azharuddin is the president of one of the cricket associations, and Jadeja was Afghanistan’s batting consultant in the World Cup,” he added.
Simultaneously, Wahab Riaz confirmed the appointment of Test batter Asad Shafiq as his consultant. Asad Shafiq, aged 37, will contribute to the team during the upcoming New Zealand T20I series, marking his initial assignment. The delay in Shafiq assuming his consultant role is attributed to his participation in the Sindh Premier League (SPL), scheduled later this month.