Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt on Tuesday continued his impressive form and scored an unbeaten 99 against Karachi in the domestic National One-Day Cup.
The left-handed opening batsman was playing his second match on his return from a five-year ban after he was proven guilty of involvement in the infamous spot-fixing scandal in 2010.
Butt, 31, announced his return to the cricketing fold with a blistering 135 off 143 balls playing for the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) against Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) two days ago.
Mohammad Asif, Butt’s aide in the spot-fixing episode, also made his comeback in the same match by claiming two wickets. Both the players were representing Wapda.
The left-handed batsman’s latest innings comes right after Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis’s comments that the duo deserved to come back in contention for the national squad if they perform well enough.
Waqar believed the duo deserved a second chance as they have already completed their punishment.
“The way I see it if Butt and Asif perform well in their comeback in domestic cricket why can’t they be considered for a second chance to play international cricket,” said Waqar while talking to Geo News.
“All the three did the same wrong and also underwent the same punishment so why should they be treated [any] differently,” he added.
Pakistan T20 skipper Shahid Afridi earlier endorsed the return of Mohammad Amir to the national side, adding that the left-arm pacer deserved to make a comeback because of his ‘truthfulness’.
The swashbuckling all-rounder was of the opinion that the remaining two of the tainted trio do not deserve forgiveness as they did not confess to their crime readily.
“Amir spoke the truth both to courts and the Pakistani public,” said Afridi, adding: “Unlike the rest who kept lying for two-three years.”
Waqar, however, did not agree to Afridi’s point of view.
“I don’t know what Shahid (Afridi) is thinking; maybe he has his reasons but generally I think Butt and Asif deserve same chance as Amir and if they show form and fitness, why not consider them for selection,” said Waqar.
“We cut their hands by banning them from all cricket for five years, it was a strong punishment for what they did.
“Now that they have served their punishment and appear to have learnt their lesson why shouldn’t they be given a second chance, it could also be good for Pakistan cricket.
“There has never been any doubt about their cricketing abilities.”