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SHARJAH: Former Pak­is­tan captain Salman Butt has been inducted in the Lahore Qalandars squad as a replacement for the injured Mohammad Hafeez, it was announced on Tuesday.

Hafeez has been ruled out of the tournament after fracturing his thumb during his side’s Feb 16 match against Karachi Kings.

As per the event regulations, Qalandars requested the Event Technical Committee, headed by Mudassar Nazar, to replace Hafeez with Salman. This request has been approved.

Salman has been in the player draft for the past three years and comes in as a silver category player.

Salman was a member of the Pakistan squad that won the ICC World Twenty20 in England in 2009. He has played 24 T20Is in which he has scored 595 runs. In 74 T20s, Salman has scored 2,278 runs at an average of just over 36 with a strike-rate of 113.5.

Qalandars coach Aaqib Javed said: “It was unfortunate to lose Hafeez. We believe that only an experienced Pakistani player like Salman Butt can replace him.”

Team manager Sameen Rana said: “Salman is a good addition to squad. He was available in past and has been in good form. We believe that he deserve a chance to showcase his form at this level as well.” —Agencies

Our Sports Reporter adds from Lahore: Speaking to Dawn, a relieved Salman expressed his excitement at being included in the squad.

“I am excited over getting the major opportunity after a long period of nine years. I have forgotten all the bad days and I am eager to come up to the expectations of Lahore Qalandars with my performance,” Salman remarked. “Throughout this nine-year period I have been serious with my playing career and to come back in the major cricket. Under my captaincy, Wapda won the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy a couple of seasons ago.

“I am hungry to perform in the PSL by the grabbing the opportunity with both hands and become a contender for the Pakistan team.”

In 2010, Salman as Pakistan skipper with two other cricketers —Moham­mad Asif and Mohammad Amir — got involved in a spot-fixing case during the final Test of the series in England.

Although Amir made a comeback to international cricket after completing two years suspension since he had turned approver, both Salman and Asif were sidelined after completing their bans.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2019