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June 29, 2007

New age

Ifs and Butts

Kamran Abbasi
Salman Butt started with a flurry of boundaries but fell for 16, England v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Headingley, August 8, 2006
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I was lucky enough to watch Salman Butt on debut. The immediate observation was this was a young player with a tremendous amount of time and hence--almost paradoxically--able to play the ball wonderfully late. A bright future as Pakistan's star opener beckoned. Since then Salman has delighted and dumbfounded. Some of his best efforts have come against Australia while last summer he was sent home early from England after a disappointing tour.

Now the young man is vice-captain, a tribute to his potential both as a player and as a thinking cricketer. Youth must have its day, of course, but there seems to be an unseemly haste about his appointment. Salman is yet to secure his place in the team. There are many other not-so-old candidates knocking around (and I go back to my advocacy of the two vice-captain theory). And the signal that the PCB is trying to send out with his appointment is a needless one.

Salman Butt's most valuable role for Pakistan is as a formidable opener. The vice-captaincy is a trifling thing that can be gifted and withdrawn on a whim. It is not a guaranteed route to the captaincy. This latest wonder of decision making may create unnecessary pressure, and harm Salman the Batsman and ironically Salman the Future Captain.

Let's hope not. Salman Butt can become a highly successful cricketer for Pakistan. On this occasion, his cause has been hampered by the misplaced enthusiasm of his employers.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by tony afzal on (August 11, 2007, 18:36 GMT)

Aaaah, poor Mohd. Yusuf. While he was a good Christian he had no chance to be entrusted with the reins of leadership of our team. Such is the problem with all our people. Religion must always come first! So he is forcibly bludgeoned into becoming a convert to Islam. (When one converts from one religion to another , it is always conversion. But why in Islam do converts have to EMBRACE Islam?). So what happens? He goes the other way and becomes one more neck-bearded menace to society. Again he is discarded because of religion(albeit this time more in the fundamentalist vein).

Can a Parsee become Pakistan's cricket captain?

Posted by tony afzal on (August 11, 2007, 18:29 GMT)

When will Shoaib Akhtar grow up? He is a total disgrace to cricket, the national team and to Pakistan in general.

It is high time he chose another career. Not in sports because he is the most unsportsman sportsman the cricketing world has ever had to face. Just because he is considered to be the world's fastest bowler is no reason why he should be comforted in cottonwool all the time. He MUST be forcibly ejected from all asppects of the game if ever the national team is to regain any semblance of respect. Imnmediately.

Posted by Pak Fan on (July 13, 2007, 16:39 GMT)

Salman - yes good opener, to get him out..bowl him to the 4th wicket and a simple catch at slips. Works all the time - ask Ifran Pathan or Zaheer.

Someone who is barely in the team a year ago is now the v.captain. Even when he needs to step in as acting captain when Shoaib M is out, he won't get support from Afridi's and S.Akhtar's.

My choice would be Afridi or S.Akhtar - they are senior and v.captaincy will add some sense of responsibility to them.

Posted by AA on (July 4, 2007, 12:20 GMT)

The appointment of Salman is definitely debatable because there are far more deserving players for this position. Our think tanks, specially the skipper Shoaib Malik, are pretty sure that Salman will retain his position in this team as a permanent member due to the fact that he is a left hander, but I don't agree with it. I must say that PCB did finally make a right decision to strip Mohammad Asif of his ranks, as Asif had a lot of baggage that included doping scandal which is still very fresh in cricket lover's and ICC's mind. Most recently his immature behavior at Abu Dhabi's game where he insulted opposing teams captain, Mahela. Mahela is a very well known player, captain and a very respectable human being who doesn't need any introduction whereas a childish act by inexperienced Pakistani VC, Asif, gave another bad name to Pakistan which gets attention by ICC and the entire cricketing world as well. I have never put my other observation in writing but I think it is time, PCB has decided to get rid of all religious affairs in Pakistani team. Hence, not considering Mohammad Yousuf or Shahid Afridi for any leading position in Pakistani team. There is no question about both of these cricketers talents and accomplishments, they have over the years proved their worth to the entire cricketing world. Everyone in the world of cricket knows their names, in many parts of the world Pakistan is known because of them.There would not have any debate for captain or vice captain if they were not Active religiously in our team. This is a subject which can't be discussed openly, so PCB has adopted these tactics to keep both of them out of any ranks. Again, this is solely my observation and you don't have to agree with it. Shoaib Akhtar has a very powerful voice and personality, also equally terrific record to back his credentials. He will not be considered for any ranks just due to the fact that PCB does not want to deal with his ideas, approach and also blunt and loud mouth. These traits of Shoaib are all positive for a good leader but PCB's officials including Selection Committee lacks common sense, cricketing knowledge, managerial skills and organization, hence, are not capable of dealing with Shoaib Akhtar. This says it all for me. Thanks! AA

Posted by AR on (July 3, 2007, 17:47 GMT)

I'm not sure why everyone keeps harping on hard cricketing skills as the main qualification for the post of VC. Captains and vice-captains need two things: 1. Leadership skills, and 2. Strategic/tactical skills. Generally leadership skills are more important in the captain, while strategic/tactical skills are more important in the VC (as he's around to advise the captain). However, you end up wanting a blend of both, since you want your VC to someday transition into the captaincy. So here's what I want to know about Salman Butt - what kind of leadership skills has he displayed, and what has been his record as a leader? If he has led other teams, and united his players to deliver a good win/loss record, I have no problems with his youth or the fact that he's talented but hasn't quite cemented his place in the team. We don't want the best cricketer as a captain or vice-captain. We want the best leader and cricketing brain that will lead the team to victory.

Posted by Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on (July 2, 2007, 14:23 GMT)

Salman Butt without doubt is one of the best openers that we have seen for a long time and appointing him as vice captain can be termed as a wise decession. He is a very confidant young man and in fact he deserved to be the captain of the team which eventually he will be Insha Allah. We need educated and confidant guys to lead our team unlike the Super AALOO that we had till the world cup. If u have confidant guys like Salman Butt leading the team then the performance of the team is elevated. Having said all this I must also emphasize that the Sellection Committee's powers must also be increased and they should sellect the best available talent, they should not be allowed be dictated by the captain and/or the board officials as was happening in the past. The best available talent should be picked up and handed over to the captain & the coach who should plan thier strategy in accordance to the available armoury in their sleeves. Current panel of sellectors are very soft and they must be advised to be strong and avoid becoming rubber stamp like Bari & group. Captains and/or board officials must not be allowed to interfere in sellection process. When on tours the tour management should be advised not to demand replacements by names, it should be the prerogrative of the sellectors only to decide who should be sent as replacement.

In the end I would like to congratulate Salman Butt for being appointed as vice captain, and also wish him luck.

Posted by JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on (July 2, 2007, 11:55 GMT)

WADA's yada yada case against Shoaib and Asif has been dismissed at the CAS for lack of jurisdiction. Case closed, chapter closed, Mr. Kamran Abbassi must initiate a new thread on this topic and question WADA's intentions on damaging and tarnishing Pakistan's image and reputation. Should the PCB not raise a voice against them and protest for creating a mountain outta mole?

Posted by Anes on (July 2, 2007, 7:52 GMT)

I think Mohammed Yousuf is the correct choice as a Captain and Shoib Malik is Vice captain of the team.When we see the pakistan team now,its like a school team captaining very young and VC also further very younger than Captain.So Please Mr.Ashraf change your decision quickly as possible because their will be a very good series comming in future.

Posted by Ali on (July 2, 2007, 7:21 GMT)

I would like to know what did Asif do wrong to get sacked as the vice???

Posted by YOU SHALL NEVER KNOW (maybe) on (July 2, 2007, 7:12 GMT)

Shahid Afridi should have been Vice Captain not Salman Butt, For these reasons...

1.Afridi is more experienced and energetic. When Pakistan has no hope of winning, or they think they're in a comfortable position, Afridi is the only one ALIVE!

2.Afridi has improved a lot on his bowling and batting in the past couple of years, he can be a deadly batsman in the test version now, too.

3.In my opinion he is pakistan's BEST ODI BOWLER! He does not let the opposition get the runs easily, because of his skiddy, fast spinners (leg and off) and recently he has been taking wickets whenever needed.

4.He is a much bigger fighter than Butt, he's always talking to the team, trying to lift their spirits. So PCB "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU."

AND THIS IS ALL RECENT!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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