KARACHI: WAPDA skipper Salman Butt — who only recently made a comeback to competitive cricket after serving a five-year ban — hailed the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy after guiding his side to their maiden first-class title.
Butt feels the tournament was a useful one for Pakistan as it helped unearth several young and talented players while many of the familiar faces also found form again. He also praised the decision to include a few day-night games in the tournament since that is where the future of Test cricket seems to lie.
“The tournament helped the selectors monitor some promising players for the future of Pakistan, especially since many of them performed in both day Tests as well as in day and night Tests,” Butt told The Express Tribune.
Butt led from the front in the final, scoring centuries in both innings to ensure WAPDA claimed a first-innings lead and then earned themselves a draw to claim their first title, and the left-handed opener feels he was able to use the tournament to send a timely reminder to the selectors of his abilities.
Salman Butt seeks Pakistan return after QAT final heroics
‘Will continue performing as best as I can’
Muhammad Abbas, the top wicket-taker of the tournament with 71 scalps to his name in 10 matches, feels it is high time that he is considered for the national side, especially since he finished top of the bowling charts last time around as well.
“I have been the top bowler of the tournament for the last two seasons but I have somehow missed the eyes of the selectors,” he said. “The bowler behind me in second has nine wickets fewer than I do. I hope the selectors consider my stats and select me.”
However, the young pacer vowed to keep his head down and continue performing even if his luck doesn’t change. “My job is to play for the team and give my best; the rest is up to my luck and the selectors,” he said. “Some people say that I don’t have a lot of pace but I take wickets and don’t give away runs — the two primary jobs of a bowler.”
‘Should be selected as specialist batsman’
Former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal also hopes his performances, that saw him top the scoring charts, will help him return to the national fold.
While he was ignored for the ongoing Test series against Australia, the veteran glovesman is optimistic of being included in the one-day squad.
“I have been giving it my best and my form can be seen out in the field. I ended up as the top-scorer despite playing a few games fewer than some other players, so my stats speak for me,” said Kamran.
The 36-year-old, who scored a whopping 1,035 runs in this year’s QAT, had to leave the field during the final but allayed all injury fears. “I am completely fit and ready to give my best in the 50-over format as a specialist batsman,” he said.
Of the hopeful lot, it seems Kamran is the only one who is likely to get a call to the national fold right now, with a selector revealing that they are monitoring the Lahore-born’s fitness and form.
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