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PCB removes Salman Butt as consultant hours after appointment

PCB removes Salman Butt as consultant hours after appointment

Salman Butt. (Photo Source: Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Barely hours after being appointed as a consultant to the PCB chief selector Wahab Riaz, Salman Butt has been removed from his position following widespread criticism and backlash. Wahab called an exigent press conference to confirm the development on Saturday (December 2).

Wahab, a close friend of Butt, stated that he was accused of favouritism and bias towards the latter, with people talking “all sorts of stuff”. 

“People were talking all sorts of stuff about me and Salman Butt. Therefore, I am reverting the decision and I have already spoken to Salman Butt and I have told him that he cannot be part of my team,” Riaz told reporters at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

It was only on Friday (December 1) that the PCB appointed Butt, Kamran Akmal and Rao Iftikhar Anjum as consultant members to chief selector Wahab. The move was met with instant criticism from former officials, cricketers as well as the media, not least because of Butt’s involvement in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, which eventually ended his international career. 

Amongst the many who saw the PCB move with shrunk eyes was Ramiz Raja, a former chairman of the board himself, who labelled the Butt appointment “insane” in an unequivocal rebuke of the board. “It’s insane to have a selection committee consisting of a member whose decision can be termed as a display of filial affection or non-affection and another who was locked up for match-fixing,” Ramiz had said.

Meanwhile, the move met with intense scrutiny on more accounts than just Butt’s tainted past. All three members onboarded hail from Punjab, the second-largest province of Pakistan, and incidentally, a province where Wahab currently holds a government ministry. 

Furthermore, Butt does not happen to be the only one with a controversial past as Akmal and Wahab himself were interrogated around the 2010 fixing episode, although neither was charged with any offence. Akmal is also the brother of Umar, who was banned by the PCB for failing to report a corrupt approach. While there have been murmurs over Akmal’s involvement too, it was Butt’s appointment which led to a rumpus.

In his role, though, Butt, just as the other two consultants, was only supposed to “assist the chief selector by providing recommendations, collecting feedback and identifying top-performing talent in domestic cricket.” A PCB statement released later on the day of the appointment also categorically confirmed that “…Consultant Members do not have any independent decision-making powers.”

Wahab, meanwhile, confirmed that a replacement will be named soon.

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