Spot-fixing controversy

Nervous Butt faces the media

Nagraj Gollapudi at Lord's

August 29, 2010

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Salman Butt was seen saying his prayers as he walked from the Pavilion to the media conference in the Thomas Lord Suite. It was the first time the fans had been able to see him at close quarters on a black day for him and his team. With blood-shot eyes and unshaven, Butt was clearly restless and nervous. He was flanked on either side by Yawar Saeed (senior manager) and Shafqat Rana (associate manager) along with the ICC media manager and the team's security officer. Usually a fluent speaker, Butt stuttered and failed to build clear sentences at various times during a 12-minute-long media session, with most of the questions intended for him being intercepted by the manager Yawar. The following is the transcript of the media session.

How serious are the allegations?
Yawar Saeed Allegations are only one thing. They are all serious - small or big. There is nothing that I can say about them as far as these allegations are concerned.

What was the feeling in the Pakistan dressing room coming into today's game with all these allegations going on?
Saeed Obviously we are not delighted about it. We are sad. It was a very sober feeling the dressing room.

Salman, are these allegations true? The evidence looks pretty damning in the paper this morning
Saeed No allegations are true till they proved either way. So at this point of time they are just allegations.

Salman, are you going to resign as Test captain in the wake of these allegations?
Salman Butt Why? Pakistan won a Test match against Australia after 15 years and against England after nine years, so does that make me resign from this current situation?

But what about after the serious allegations?
Saeed I don't think you should ask [him] to resign [based] on allegations. Let us wait till the case is completed.

The team surrendered quite meekly this morning as wickets fell quickly. Was that because of what happened in the morning and was that playing on their minds?
Butt We didn't play good cricket. England played a lot better cricket in this game. The point is you can't connect what happened in the morning's display because even yesterday the team collapsed for 74 runs. So today was a bit better than that. The guys tried their best but it was just England's game. They played the better game.

Yawar, did you ask Salman if the allegations are true. And in view of these allegations will the ODI series take place?
Saeed As far as I'm concerned the one-day series is on. We are moving to the West Country after [Tuesday] and will play the one-dayers and the T20s. As far as the allegations are concerned I would still call them allegations, as it is not really for me within 24 hours to pass a judgment whether they are true or not.

Why can't Salman say whether are the allegations are true or not?
Butt These are just allegations and anybody can stand out and say anything, it doesn't mean they are true. They include quite a few people and they are still ongoing. We'll see what happens.

The allegations involving you - are they true or false?
Butt I haven't heard any allegation except someone just taking my name. There is nothing that I've seen or shown on TV, nothing that involves me.

Yawar, have you spoken to the PCB today? Have they asked you for a report?
Saeed As a manager whether they ask or not I will give my report. I have not been speaking to them today because we came to the ground. Now the Test match is over. The series is over. Now I shall certainly talk to them.

And how quickly have they asked you for a report?
Saeed The chairman of PCB is in town. I will be seeing him his afternoon and giving him my report.

Salman, can you reassure the Pakistan fans that you have given 100% effort at every moment in this Test series?
Butt Definitely we have given our best that we could do on the days. We've tried our best. It has just been the conditions have been difficult for the batsmen. Remember that this has been a very inexperienced team, especially the batting which has been the main thing has not matched expectations. We all expected that [to happen] as I've been saying in all my press conferences, that the guys are young with the least experience, and in these difficult conditions they might struggle.

Did the bowlers give 100% every ball of this Test series?
Butt I will say every person in my team has given his 100% and has given all the efforts he could, but not every time you go out do you achieve what you want to. All you can do is try, and the rest is beyond your control.

You seem tired and weary and seem to have had a sleepless night?
Butt Obviously when some allegations are thrown at you, how can you have satisfaction? Because it is an allegation levelled against you, so unless and until it becomes clear in black and white, until then it is never easy.

Mohammad Amir, just 18, won the Man-of-the-Series award for Pakistan. Is he upset by the allegations?
Saeed Mohammad Amir is a bowler who has done well so far in his career all over the world. Certainly he is a little disappointed because his name has come through but we and he will wait until the investigations are over. If he comes through clean there is nothing better than that.

If he doesn't come through clean, what then?
Saeed Then let's wait until that time comes.

Why did the Pakistanis not come out to practise in the morning?
Saeed It is a good question. We did not have even a cup of coffee in the morning. But we did not warm up because I was talking to the team. A lot had happened overnight and it was my duty to talk to them, get them focussed back into the match. There is no other reason.

The newspaper report that makes these allegations describes you as the ring leader. Can you confirm that? Also can you confirm whether or not the police searched your room?
Saeed I have read it too in the press. As far as the Scotland Yard investigations are concerned I would not like to say anything more until we go along with it because it is not right for us to make the allegations. As for the room search, I said this last night, too, the Scotland Yard officers came. They interviewed, they came to my room as well. They went to his [Butt's] room and two other rooms and they were there for about two to three hours. After that I asked if there is anything we can do, they said no. "We are doing our investigations," they said. "There is nothing more for you people to do".

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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