Pakistan news – PCB withdraws Salman Butt’s name as selection consultant day after appointment

Salman Butt has withdrawn as the consultant to chief selector Wahab Riaz a day after he was appointed to the position. Pakistan chief selector Wahab called a press conference to say Butt’s name was being withdrawn from the consultancy panel with immediate effect.

Wahab accused the media of looking to besmirch the PCB’s name following Butt’s nomination to the advisory panel. He said he had been accused of giving Butt, known to be a close friend of Wahab, preferential treatment, and that he wanted to shield himself against those allegations. Saying his top priority was maintaining the reputation of the PCB and his own integrity, he confirmed Butt would now not be involved with team selection “in any capacity”.

On Friday, Butt was appointed as a consultant member alongside Kamran Akmal and Rao Iftikhar Anjum “with immediate effect”, and they would be advising Wahab in selecting Pakistan’s team for the five-match series against New Zealand. The selection came in for heavy criticism for a number of reasons, including the provincial composition of the panel. All three members are from Punjab, historically the most influential and dominant region in Pakistan cricket. With Wahab also currently holding a government ministry in the Punjab government, the board instantly came in for allegations of favouritism.

But it was Butt’s appointment that caused the greatest uproar. It was the first time Butt was handed a position at the PCB in any capacity since being banned for spot-fixing in 2010. He played domestic cricket and the PSL after returning from his ban, and has taken up a role as an analyst for various media outlets.

But ESPNcricinfo understands Butt’s appointment was met with fierce internal resistance within the PCB too, with at least one employee said to be uncomfortable with it to the extent they threatened to resign. With criticism mounting across the board, Wahab convened a hastily arranged press conference on Saturday evening, withdrawing Butt’s name from the panel.

Wahab said a replacement would be announced shortly, pointedly saying he would be from Karachi. Wahab also said Asad Shafiq is likely to be appointed to that position in due course.

While Butt was the most high-profile appointment, he was not the only member of that panel to be wholly free from controversy. While Butt was banned and has served time for his role in the 2010 scandal, both Wahab and Akmal were questioned in and around that same episode. Akmal was sent a notice by the ICC after the T20 World Cup in 2010 – much before the spot-fixing incident broke out that year – though he was later cleared to be selected by Pakistan. Akmal did not play another Test after the episode at Lord’s, though he did feature in Pakistan’s white-ball sides.

Wahab was also questioned by Scotland Yard in the immediate aftermath of the Lord’s Test that year, but was never charged with any offence. He was appointed the new chief selector of the senior men’s team two weeks back after Inzamam-ul-Haq had stepped down from his position in the wake of conflict-of-interest allegations.

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