Salman Butt refuses to play in National T20 Cup after Central Punjab demotes him to second XI

Former Pakistan captain and domestic veteran Salman Butt has refused to play in the upcoming National T20 Cup after Central Punjab demoted him from the first XI to the division two squad.

After serving the five-year ban imposed on him for spot-fixing, the southpaw returned to domestic cricket in 2016 and has been consistently putting up good performances on the board, but last year, he didn’t get a chance to make it to the playing XI for Central Punjab.

With the presence of Ahmed Shahzad, Babar Azam, Kamran Akmal, and Umar Akmal in top order for Central Punjab, Butt didn’t get a chance in the middle and warmed the bench throughout, and eventually, asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for a change of teams but his request was denied.

Well, then things got worse for him this year when the left-hander was axed entirely from the squad after the PCB selectors brought in Abid Ali. However, after Shehzad picked up an injury and Umar Akmal was handed a ban, Central Punjab offered the veteran batsman captaincy of the second XI but he refused and opener Nauman Anwar was given the job.

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A PCB statement reads: “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.”

Butt lost his cool when the newly appointed Central Punjab head coach Shahid Anwar told him that he should lead the division two side in the National T20 championship since there was no place for him in the division one team and raised questions behind the logic as the top 3 batsmen are absent.

Notably, Umar is presently serving a suspension, Shehzad is injured while Babar is playing in the Vitality T20 Blast for Somerset in England.

A source revealed: “Salman asked Shahid Anwar the logic behind this, especially when the top three batsmen of Central Punjab division one team, Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad, and Babar Azam, were not available due to various reasons.”

He concluded, “Butt also reminded Anwar that he had been the top three scorers of the national T20 tournament for the last three seasons and his team had twice appeared in the final while once also winning it.”

Noteworthy, Azam will captain the Central Punjab first XI in the second round after fulfilling his commitments with Somerset in the T20 Blast.

(With PTI Inputs)

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