Spot-fixing scandal lowest point of my tenure - Butt
Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, has said the spot-fixing controversy that resulted in bans being imposed on three leading Pakistan players has been the biggest disappointment of his tenure. He said that losing Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif to the spot-fixing scandal hurt him most since taking over as chairman of the board in October 2008.
"It hurt a lot, especially when I came to know the details," Ijaz Butt said. Salman Butt's involvement, he said, had come as a shock as he was tipped to lead Pakistan for a long time. "He had the educational background, grooming and performances to carry on as captain. He would have solved our captaincy problems."
Butt also spoke on other players who have not played for Pakistan in recent months, because they have not been given clearance by the board's integrity committee. He said that in his view Shoaib Malik would be a certainty in the team once he gets cleared by the committee.
"In my opinion he can walk into the team," Butt said. "He came to me thrice and I told him that 'I am giving you brotherly advice - the integrity committee is not against you and it wants to clear you but first you need to give satisfactory answers to what it want to know'.
"We still need him for limited-overs cricket as he is an ideal allrounder."
Legspinner Danish Kaneria has taken the board to court over his continued non-clearance. The court has asked the PCB not to make any comments about Kaneria in public. In the interview, recorded before the order, Butt said even if Kaneria were cleared there was no guarantee he would return to the side.
In a wide-ranging, hour-long interview broadcast on Thursday night, Butt spoke on a number of issues, including a plan to resume ties with India that was rejected by the BCCI. "We hope the series will be revived and we told them we are ready to play in India but revenue should be shared 50-50, but they did not accept the proposal."
There have been no bilateral series between India and Pakistan following a worsening of political ties in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. According to the ICC's new Future Tours Program, India are slated to host Pakistan for a full series in March 2012. The FTP also has provision for bilateral series between the two countries in 2013 and 2015, though it doesn't mention who will host the games in both those years.
Butt was also candid when it came to domestic issues, such as selection; the recent report by the ICC's Pakistan Task Team (PTT) has also been heavily critical of Pakistan's selection processes, including the right of veto Butt enjoys over selection. "The selection is not just bad, but terrible from grassroots level and we get lot of complaints about the selection. The national selectors also need to spend more time on the field and they can't just keep on selecting teams on the basis of looking at performances on paper provided to them by the board."
About his own future, Butt said: "This is something I would not like to discuss because the matter is still not clear. I have my opinion, my boss has his opinion and they are at conflict. But shortly before October, one way or the other, it will be decided. I have an interest in cricket, which is why I am working as the chairman of the PCB, but it is also a fact that I have suffered a lot as I hold certain important assignments and they have been affected."
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo