LAHORE: Salman Butt has reminded his team-mates of the struggles ahead on the tours of Sri Lanka and England after being appointed the team’s vice-captain for the series.
“Both tours are difficult and we might struggle there but there is also a positive aspect to look at,” said Butt. “If we do well and give the opponents a tough fight, we can make a difference.
“Our last tour of England wasn’t that bad and we had control but failed to give the finishing touch. Therefore, it’s very important to produce results at the end.”
Butt also admitted that there will be huge pressure on him with the added responsibilities.
“I feel very proud to have such a responsibility. The pressure is always there but I always go for my performance which is very important because one can’t survive at the international level without performing well. My performance will help me overcome the pressure.”
While ruing the absence of senior players, Butt also emphasised on apt replacement in the form of young and upcoming individuals.
“Seniors are always important for the team but one day they have to go and young players will need to step in and take their place. So until young players aren’t encouraged, they can’t get the required experience to perform. “
Butt’s appointment came as no surprise with captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis backing the opener’s appointment, a job Butt has taken as a challenge.
There were speculations that Butt will be appointed as Shahid Afridi’s deputy for the Asia Cup only with former captain Younus Khan to be handed the role for the tour of England, especially given how Afridi wants Younus back in the team as well.
However, Younus’ ongoing legal battle with the PCB tilted the balance in favour of Butt as he remained the best choice available.
Akhtar, Malik undergo fitness tests
Shoaib Akhtar and Shoaib Malik underwent a physical fitness test prior to the meeting of the selection committee to announce the squad for Asia Cup. Both players were asked to prove their fitness before being shortlisted for the Asia Cup. While Akhtar bowled 12 overs in the nets, Malik was asked to bat, bowl and field at the National Cricket Academy in the presence of PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt, chief selector Mohsin Khan, Younis along with the members of selection committee and coaching staff.
The duo, however, refused to perform their fitness tests in front of the awaiting media.
“The selection committee has witnessed Akhtar and Malik in the nets in the presence of coaches,” said Mohsin without giving his opinion on either cricketer.
Malik has not played for Pakistan since February after being banned for a year following the tour of Australia.
The ban was then lifted by the PCB considering the player’s “conduct in the last three months” when Malik was busy with his wedding preparations with Sania Mirza. Akhtar last represented Pakistan over a year ago in the UAE.
“The appointment of Salman Butt as Pakistan’s vice-captain is a good decision in my opinion. I was taken into confidence before his appointment and I have full faith in him and his performance.”
“It’s a good decision taken by the PCB but if it is taken without any plans to prepare him as a future captain and is just a formality to appoint an individual, then it would not serve the team in greater way.”
Both the captain and the vice-captain are young. Hopefully the appointment of Butt as deputy to Afridi would be beneficial for national team and their individual performance will not be affected.”
“Salman Butt was the best possible option and the PCB has taken the right decision by appointing him as the vice captain. He has proved himself in all the three formats and shone recently in West Indies as well.”
Published in the Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2010.
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