Pakistan v Australia 2010

'The future is safe' - Salman Butt

Moments after being confirmed as Pakistan's new captain following Shahid Afridi's shock retirement, Salman Butt spoke exclusively to Cricinfo

Nagraj Gollapudi

July 17, 2010

Comments: 142 | Text size: A | A

Salman Butt compiled an important half-century on the third afternoon at Lord's, Pakistan v Australia, 1st Test, Lord's, July 15, 2010
Salman Butt: "Being the vice-captain meant if anything goes wrong you are the next man. So I was partially ready for something like this" © AFP
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How do you summarise the events in the last 24 hours?
I knew nothing about it [Shahid Afridi's retirement from Tests] beforehand. But I have respect for his honest opinion and he made a very good decision. He took the captaincy after we did not have a good tour of Australia, and we'd had a very difficult time, so he has done a great job so far. He has been doing wonderfully well in the one-dayers and Twenty20. I really respect his decision about Test cricket because this is a totally different domain. It is a big decision to make and not too many people would've gone through and made a decision like he did.

Did you predict anything like this might happen when the tour began?
Being the vice-captain meant if anything goes wrong you are the next man. So I was partially ready for something like this, but I didn't expect him to retire like this. So mentally I was partially prepared.

What will be the biggest challenge ahead for you?
We have a very good young unit. The two new guys [Azhar Ali and Umar Amin] have done really well because the standard of bowling at Lord's was world class. Yes, this is a home series but we all know this is not home. Still the way they played it was heartening. It is a step forward. If we play this unit for the next eight to ten months, we will have a different team. We still believe we can beat any side because it is this same side that won two Twenty20 matches against Australia, even though we lost two tight matches in Asia Cup. It is a good sign.

The average age of the side is under 25 so to have this potential is important. If we can see the youngsters play for the next 10-12 years, we can build a very good unit. But the important thing is that we have to be patient because experience does not have any short cuts. We have to give ourselves and the youngsters time and at the same time work hard. I am very sure that these guys are committed and they want to play for each other and the country.

No doubt it is a rebuilding phase but being the captain now, in addition to being the senior batsman, does that increase your burden?
You can add the weight by using a different word but as a player my responsibility is the same: to go out there and perform to the best of my ability. It does not matter who is the captain because I am playing for Pakistan primarily and secondly for myself. If I don't do well I won't be in the team. It applies to everybody. What I see in my team is that they have the ability to fight. The other important thing is the new guys don't think about the big names. We tell each other everyday that we can beat anyone. The belief is steadily starting to develop and one day we will be once again a force to reckon with.

Your batting at Lord's looked settled and confident. Did you work on it consciously before the tour?
There is nothing big to do. The best thing to do is to get your basics right and do the simple things well. I was just watching ball. That was one the one pieces of advice I got from a man, whose name I don't want to reveal at the moment. He was one of the best batsman I saw opening the innings. He just told me "watch the ball from the time it starts form the bowler's hand till it reaches you and let your body react to it." It has worked. The rest of my coaches here - Ijaz bhai, Waqar bhai and Aaqib bhai - they have been helping me and the youngsters. Even I don't have much experience. I have only played 28 Tests. You can call me a senior batsman but compared to other big players I am just two or three years older. I am not promising big things but there is definitely hope and the future is safe.

Can you talk about the coaching think tank - what exactly do they bring to the table?
The best thing they bring is the mind of a champion. These were people that were part of the team that brought Pakistan cricket to the top. They were there when Pakistan won the World Cup. Aaqib bhai has been the coach of two Under-19 World Cup winning sides, Ijaz bhai was coach this year of the Under-19 team which ended as runners up [in New Zealand]. Waqar bhai was a champion bowler and needs no further introduction. These are people who have experienced pressure at the highest level and performed well, so there is nobody else better than these three to describe a game to a youngster. Their presence is very valuable and I hope every squad member will take a piece from their book and apply however he thinks suitable for himself.

The PCB haven't ruled out the return of the two Ys - Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan. How would you look at such a development?
At the moment nothing has been discussed with me about them. Nobody can deny they are two great players but at the moment they haven't been discussed. We have to be content with what we have at hand. I'm very happy with the new boys who have come in. And even former players share the same opinion. We need to give them a long run. Nobody is a born Mohammad Yousuf or Wasim Akram or Inzamam-ul-Haq - even these players were not known when they came into cricket. Their performances made them who they are. So we need to given the youngsters the time. Hopefully, and I'm sure, they will make a name for themselves.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by salmanq on (July 24, 2010, 22:39 GMT)

Butt walked the walk and talked the talk. Yousuf and Younis however are in the creek without the paddle and hopefully will stay there till eternity:)

Posted by onlinegamer55 on (July 24, 2010, 6:17 GMT)

Salman's test batting average of 30 should rule him out of all forms of cricket. No professional batsmen can sustain a decent career with that sort of batting average. Axe him, I say! Bring Younis Khan in his place and Mohammad Yousuf in Shaoib Malik's place.

Posted by antonella on (July 23, 2010, 14:25 GMT)

cmon salman!!!!!!!!u're my dearest vice captain,,,,,,,,bt now u.....u can do it.i like the way u talk.very very intelligent.good luck

Posted by   on (July 20, 2010, 5:19 GMT)

According To The Present Squad (Salman But, Yasir Hameed, Shoib Malik, Azhar Ali,Umar Amin, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, M.Aamir. M.Asif, Saeed Ajmal) Should Be The Playing 11 For The Next Test Match Between Pak vs Aus. Thank You

Posted by   on (July 20, 2010, 4:05 GMT)

congratulations salman butt...best luck...

Posted by   on (July 20, 2010, 3:55 GMT)

At this moment Pakistan should be facing there level of opposition, but oh well. I want to see a tour of Westindies, its been a while. A tour like this can be very interesting as both teams are inexperienced, losing their matches, and rely on a single batsman/bowler(s).

Posted by faisalmalik2002 on (July 20, 2010, 2:56 GMT)

Salman Butt. Imran Farhat, Imran Nazir, Mohmmand Yousaf, Younas Khan, Shauib Malik, Umer Akmar, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Azhar, Abdul Razzak, Umer Gul, Mohmmad Aamir, Mohmmad Asif, Shauib Akthar, Rao, R. Afridi. best Pakistani team just add Imran Nazir in it and wil fully change all team in feid or as well as in Batting

Posted by   on (July 19, 2010, 18:51 GMT)

Salman*,Y Hameed,Umar Akmal,Yousuf,Younis,Azhar Ali,Kamran Akmal,Aamer,Asif,Gul,Ajmal/Danish. yousuf & younis both should be back otherwise Pk fans must wait 2/3 yrs to see test match victory

Posted by   on (July 19, 2010, 18:41 GMT)

Butt is in the form...but who knows whose gona be the next victim of PCB? Definitely Salman butt can't bring back to back success in Test cricket coz this's new team & it will take 2/3 years time provided Pk gets enough test matches per year. There's no more Inzi yousuf younis in the middle order whose avgs in 50s. Pak this team likely to loss against Bang in test cricket.....so PCB should plug in one by one younger player not whole team.....let yousuf younis back to the Team & plug in Umar/Azhar only one in the Team & through Malik away permanently the route cause of problems

Posted by sugumarrising on (July 19, 2010, 16:23 GMT)

I have heard someone providing the facts about india vs pakistan overall head to head, we accept that pakistan has the better records in tests & odi's, but india has the better records in this decade, and also we have the better head to head records in t20s, and also we are not too far away in test cricket,india has the best record in cricket's greatest tournament (world cup), india has never lost a world cup match against pakistan in any forms of the game, so we also have some great things to tell, and also one of the friends have said india is playing well because australia, westindies, & pakistan are down, i want to remind world cricket one thing india is the only team to beat australia in australia(at peak) in 7 years, you may tell southafrica has won a series in australia in 2009,when southafrica beat australia there is no GILCHRIST, DAMIEN MARTYN, LANGER, WARNE, MCGRATH, GILLESPIE, but when india had beaten them all these great players were playing thats the difference.

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