Wahab Riaz, the chief selector of the Pakistan men’s cricket team, announced on Saturday that former cricketer Salman Butt was dropped as a member of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) selection committee a day after his appointment in the wake of a massive backlash against the move.
Butt was appointed to the selection committee, along with Kamran Akmal and Rao Iftikhar Anjum, a day ago by the chief selector. However, the move was severely criticised and generated blowback.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium today, Riaz said: “I am reverting that decision and I’ve already spoken to Salman Butt and told him that he cannot be a part of my team because I do not want that people link us in any way.”
Elaborating on the lead-up to the selection committee’s Friday appointments, Riaz said there was a lot of public debate on Butt’s name and “many people created a lot of issues over it”.
“I firstly want to clarify that he is not on any PCB panel. Secondly, he is a good cricketing mind who understands cricket and has been covering domestic cricket for the past two to three years.
“He was made my consultant only as far as taking his opinion is concerned on which some people and media houses are probably doing propaganda, trying to ruin affairs and linking me with it.”
Riaz said he was thankful to PCB chief Zaka Ashraf for permitting him to go ahead with his recommendations for the selection committee.
“As the chief selector, I decide who will be the people working with me and who I will need the support of,” he added.
Riaz said people were linking him and Butt with accusations of nepotism and friendship-based favours, which is why he made today’s decision.
He opined that the past should remain in the past and Butt had already paid for his mistakes, reiterating that the only reason for his appointment was his cricketing knowledge.
“There is no one else’s pressure. It was my decision and I am reverting it I think it is very necessary for people to understand to move forward in life.”
However, Riaz said that he did not want his decisions to negatively impact the PCB since he was a part of the organisation now.
‘Controversial appointment’ revoked on PM’s notice: PMO
Separately, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said the “controversial appointment” was immediately rescinded upon the direction of caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, the PCB patron-in-chief.
“The prime minister has taken a serious notice of the appointment of Salman Butt, a controversial former cricket player,” the PMO said.
The caretaker prime minister observed that there was no dearth of talent in Pakistan, adding that the selection committee should be free from any controversy.
He directed the inclusion of “non-controversial and well-reputed selectors” as members of the election committee based on merit.