Salman Butt has refused to play the National T20 Cup after he was demoted from the first XI of Central Punjab.
Since his return from a five-year ban for spot-fixing in 2016, Butt averaged 51.28 in T20 cricket for Lahore Whites. He was picked up last year by Central Punjab but didn't get a chance to make it to the playing XI. With Ahmed Shahzad, Babar Azam, Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal in top order for Central Punjab, Butt asked the PCB to put him in a different team but his request was denied and he was left on the bench.
This year, Butt has been axed from the squad entirely after the PCB selectors brought in Abid Ali. Central Punjab needed reinforcement after Shehzad picked up an injury and Umar Akmal picked up a ban. Their head coach Shahid Anwar brought in two under-19 players - Abdullah Shafiq and Qasim Akram. ESPNcricinfo understands that Butt was moved into the second XI so that he can be captain but with his refusal Nauman Anwar, a 24-year-old Gujranwala born opener, will take up the role.
A PCB statement said, "Salman Butt, 36, was not selected in the first XI after he failed to feature in any of his side's matches in the National T20 Cup 2019-20. In the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020, he has played only one game to date for Lahore Qalandars. However, considering his experience, he was offered to lead the second XI side, which he declined."
Before Butt was banned, his T20 strike rate was 107.98. His overall domestic T20 strike rate is 112.98, and he has scored 2349 runs at an average of 35.05. Last year, he was chosen to play the PSL by Qalandars as a replacement for Mohammad Hafeez.
Butt marked his comeback in January 2016 with a century in the National One-Day Cup, and went on to finish the tournament as its second-highest run-getter, with 536 runs at an average of 107.20. He then led his first-class team, Water and Power Development Authority, to the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy title, scoring twin hundreds in the final to finish the season with 741 runs at 49.40. He was also the second-highest run-getter in the National T20 Cup in 2018, with 350 runs at 70.00.
The PCB named Azam to lead the Central Punjab first XI but he will only join the squad in the second round after fulfilling his commitments with Somerset in England's T20 blast. Hasan Ali continues to miss out as he recovers from his back injury.
The PCB is aiming to have a full domestic season with the National T20 cup starting from September 30 in Multan and Rawalpindi. With three ICC tournaments due to be played over the next two years, the PCB have doubled the number of white-ball games in their domestic structure. The National T20 Cup, ODI Cup and the Under-19 one-day tournament will now be played in a double round-robin league format.