England v Pakistan, 1st npower Test, Trent Bridge, 4th day August 1, 2010

Butt not convinced Ys heads are the answer


Salman Butt has a question for those of us who feel Pakistan are hitting themselves in the foot by continuing to ignore the Ys - Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan - out of the batting ranks. "Having seen the past results can anybody over here tell me how many wins Pakistan had with the people who were previously playing?" Butt shot the query at the media after Pakistan's embarrassing defeat in Nottingham.

He probably meant Pakistan's record in England, as out of the five and six Tests Younis and Yousuf have played respectively in this country, they were part of only one victory - at Old Trafford in the summer of 2001 when Inzamam-ul-Haq bolstered the middle-order with his calm presence. Waqar Younis, Pakistan's current coach, was then leading an experienced side, which also featured Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar and Saqlain Mushtaq.

However, Butt, if he has been referring to the stats books, would also be aware of the Y-pair's outstanding record in England: Yousuf has compiled 716 runs at 65.09 including a double-century and Younis has logged 470 runs at 52.22 with one hundred and a highest of 173. Those are big runs and Pakistan could do with such stone-walling efforts, going by the fragility of their batting order this summer.

The call for their return is bound to get louder if you consider the fact that in the six innings so far on this trip, Pakistan's middle-order, comprising Nos. 3-7, has recorded a solitary half-century. Azhar Ali, Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal have have all wobbled and succumbed to pressure easily.

Yet Butt and Waqar have stressed that Pakistan possess the best possible unit at the moment and it was only healthy and apt to think beyond the Ys. "Whoever is in the Pakistan side is there because of his ability and needs to be given time to show what they are capable of," Butt said. "Had we been winning with them in the team in the past two years then it could've been a mistake. But the results were the same. In fact these guys pulled off a victory after 15 years [against Australia last week at Headingley]. So people are not seeing the reality."

Waqar was more direct on Saturday evening, when Pakistan had lost their top three wickets in a matter of minutes. Asked if he felt the inexperienced middle order needed reinforcement in the form either Yousuf or Younis, or both, he did not entertain the thought too much. "Look, one is retired [Yousuf]. We can't really bring somebody back from retirement. The other one [Younis] has got serious issues with the cricket board [PCB]," Waqar said with a smile.

Waqar said he was disappointed at some of the shots his batsmen played but felt this team was on the right track, in light of what he had witnessed in the past few years where Pakistan cricket had been marred by relentless controversies. "If you compare the Pakistan side from the last two to three years to this one it is a big improvement," Waqar said. "We want to make this into a big unit. We might have to take a couple losses but this unit looks good."

Pakistan's biggest problem on this trip has been the weak spine the batsmen have shown in the face of challenging seaming and swinging conditions. Their ineptitude to raise a challenging score has only hurt and eventually demoralised their fast men - Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul, who have put in stellar performances. Butt accepts the blame. "Yes, because we have got out very quickly today and we lost seven wickets in an hour's time you can say we have the problems against the seaming (swinging) ball."

Butt himself was a failure, getting a single-digit score in both innings. Ironically for Butt, though just two matches old as captain, he is Pakistan's highest run maker this year and so remains the man to lend a direction for the rest of the batting order. "All of us need to take responsibility having played a bit more cricket than some others in the team," Butt said.

However Butt is not willing to pull the pin on any of the batsmen. "I am just two games old: we have won one and lost the other. So I can never think of saying they have not responded. I can't be that impatient," Butt said. According to him, expecting Pakistan to win every match is asking for the moon. "What do you expect from them - win every game? That will not happen. This is the time when you back your players. It is just a matter of putting up a performance whether it being bowling, fielding, batting. The faith I have in them, I know they can make a comeback."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on August 6, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    I think Mr. Butt doesn't know that pakistan won test match against australia due to their BOWLING not because of battting...

  • oman20101982 on August 3, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    Well Bringing back the two y's is not about whats gonna win matches but its also about justice . Poeple who average over fifty are out cause they are 35 , whil poeple who cant put bat to ball in swinging conditions are in the team cause they are young , anyone get me in the team i m young too , and can bat well , maybe as time passes i ll be good batsman too . I pray Justice is done in Sports / all matters of life and everywhere in the world and Our country .... I love salman butt and have played under his captaincy in model town greens and loved his batting . Talking like that about Pakistan most best batsmen , one recieved an award two years ago , most runs scored , other one was World cup winning Side s Captain . Aah i dont know whgats happeing in our minds ... i can only say ... God Help us ....

  • dmqi on August 3, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    The top 7 English players who batted have test average above 40, few close to 50 and one above 50. Here is the data for Butt and company:

    Butt : 31.6 Kamran : 32 Umar: 35.6 Malik : 34.8 Farhat : 33.5 Others are new, so they do not deserve to be in this list. Now is there any idiot in this world who would expect for this C grade team ( excluding the 3 bowlers) to be competitive? Try Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. You may have some luck, but I am not sure.

    Build a team with C graders? Do not forget 0 + 0 = 0, simple math. Morning shows the day.

  • dmqi on August 3, 2010, 2:21 GMT

    I am amassed to see how many supporters have agreed with the statement of Salman Butt and Waker Yunus. It looks to me that they are following the hopeless PCB. My prediction is this: You will loose every test as your two bowlers will not sustain the burden for too many innings. There is very little chance that the failed batsmen will produce any miracle. Mr. Butt, wait till the completion of the tour, I bet many will demand for a new captain. And Mr Malik and Kamran Akaml are waiting to fill up your slot. You know PCB is playing a circus and you are all part of it. Just check what the English and west Indies commentators said about the two Y's in last few days. They are all world famous players or commentators. Do they understand less than you or the coach? Have mercy. You do not build a team during test match. You had 10 years for that and your boss failed miserably to do that. How do you expect to succeed when your own records are below average?

  • dmqi on August 3, 2010, 2:08 GMT

    Mr. Salman Butt:

    Your position in the team was not certain just few months ago, you became captain because Afridi dropped out. If he would stay you would not be captain in few years. At 22-23, not many captain has been successful. Just see the great Tendulker. Your statement about the two Y's just show how eager you are to keep them away. If you understand the subject called statistics, and probability, you should understand who has better chance to succeed, you and your junk batsmen or the two Y's. Yes, they may fail in few innings but they have a much better chance to give stability to the middle order. One, out of two win, come on. Ponting donated that win. You will loose 70% match for sure and just see your own batting. I am just disappointed by your silly comment.

  • rajputs on August 2, 2010, 23:13 GMT

    we ll said SALMAN BUTT, but the matter is of two y`s,kindly see records of yousaf( i personally grades him one the best batsman in the history of Pakistan) can anyone tell that when he last performed to save or win match? nd we ll see this time also how HAJI YOUSAF sb performs as he is inn now with CALL from A big gun, about younas, GOOD BATSMAN and very very bad person on field nd for team see the videos of his innings wats he doing he seems a drama in field not a person representing a nation.YOUNAS STANDS AMONG THE ONE`S WHO DESTROYS TEAM UNITY.so its not matter of salman butt who dnt want them inn, its anyone who is captain d`nt want younas inn except fawad alam.

  • mrcruizy on August 2, 2010, 23:05 GMT

    well said butt.. i agree, a captan should b patient enough with his team. and yes pak team can't win every single game they play.. but there is a point that he actually missed and being a captain and almost senior player by now he shouldn't have missed it. and i must criticise him for this as i backed him for what he said..so it should be equaly treated..and the point he missed is that we are talking about TEST CRICKET and not T20 or ODIs.. we cannot win TEST matches with young players and specialy INEXPERIENCED players. you need to have players like younas and yousaf weather they perform or not there is always and always something for the younger players to learn from them...and those who are stricktly against the comeback of yousaf and younas actually lost this as well..they actualy are just too sentimental or against these players..the benefit of expereinced and old players is not always that they perform but becuase they bring so much expereince and lot can be learnt from them guys

  • dummy4fb on August 2, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    Hello Mr. Salman Butt. Do you think having an average of above 50 in Test cricket is a joke??? First, to comment on the Y's you better make a decent average, then we shall discuss other people's fate... Please don take it personal... Once you have such an average for a sustained period of time (even when the team is loosing) then you will know the value of solid, reliable scores in Test Cricket. You simply don respect it, because you do not know it. You are not getting it Salman, we are talking about decent scores, not winning matches.... And Mr. Waqar, you do not know anything about batting, so please try to save your job.

  • M_H_K on August 2, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    Its the time to forget the two Y's, time to look ahead. It was also nice to see that Salman Butt is supporting his team mates after the loss. Both Y's were used to point fingers publicly at their team mates after the loss during their captaincies. PCB and management should also show some patience towards the new comers. They should give a youngster enough chances before reaching to final conclusion.

  • AjaySinghNY on August 2, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    Instead of bringing back Yousuf, they should hire good batting coach. Pakistan team is struggling against pack attack.

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