Ijaz Butt, former Pakistan keeper and PCB chairman, dies at 85

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Former Pakistan wicketkeeper and PCB chairman Ijaz Butt has died at the age of 85 in Lahore.
In 2008, he was appointed chairman of the PCB by then-president Asif Ali Zardari. He held that position through one of the most chaotic and tumultuous periods in Pakistan’s cricketing history. Just five months into his tenure, there was a terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team and match officials that claimed the lives of eight people and stopped international cricket in Pakistan for the best part of a decade. It was followed by angry accusations of lax security by ICC match referee Chris Broad which Butt dismissed as “lies”.

The Pakistan captaincy changed hands several times during his tenure, with Shoaib Malik famously described as “aloof and a loner” in a report, days after he was sacked. After a disastrous tour of Australia, the PCB hit back with huge sanctions against its own players. Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan were banned “indefinitely” in 2010, Malik and Naved-ul-Hasan were handed one-year bans, while Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal were put on six-month probations. Yousuf and Younis were back playing Test cricket a few months later.

Butt would also have to content with the fallout from the spot-fixing scandal that saw three Pakistan players – captain Salman Butt, and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir – caught agreeing to bowl no-balls in a Test at Lord’s in exchange for money. The three players were banned, and relations between the PCB and England turned especially frosty, which Butt played a part in contributing to on at least one occasion.

Butt was replaced by Zaka Ashraf, who is also the current PCB chairman, in 2011.

He played eight Tests for Pakistan, making his debut in Karachi against West Indies in 1959 as a wicketkeeper-batter. His last match came at The Oval against England in 1962. He was the manager of the Pakistan team for a tour of Australia in 1982 and headed the selection committee a couple of times. He also served as the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan – the precursor to the PCB – from 1984-88.

PCB management committee chairperson Ashraf said: “On behalf of the PCB, I want to express my deepest condolences on the sad demise of Mr Ijaz Butt.

“I had the privilege of knowing him personally and I have nothing but utmost respect for Mr Butt. I offer my deepest condolences to Ijaz Butt’s family and friends, and assure them that he will always be remembered for the contributions he made to Pakistan cricket.”

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