Thursday, June 3, 2010

Salman Butt named vice-captain

Salman Butt was on Wednesday installed as Pakistan’s vice-captain for this month’s Asia Cup and the tour of England later this summer.

The left-handed opener is seen by many in the current national cricket set-up as a future captain. Butt, 25, in fact emerged as a favourite to take over as Pakistan’s Test captain when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) ran out of captaincy options after it banned three former skippers — Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik — in March.

However, allrounder Shahid Afridi’s decision to come out of Test exile after staying away from the longest format of the game for four years ended Butt’s hope of succeeding Yousuf as Pakistan’s Test captain.
“PCB announces Salman Butt as the vice captain of the Pakistan team for the Asia Cup 2010 as well as the tour of England,” said a PCB statement issued on Wednesday.

Butt, 25, has previously served as vice-captain under the leadership of Shoaib Malik in 2007.

Commenting on Butt’s appointment, Afridi told ‘The News’ that he was confident that Butt has the credentials to be a good deputy. “Salman is a good cricketer and I believe that his appointment as the team’s vice-captain is good for Pakistan cricket,” said Afridi.

“He is the future of Pakistan cricket and I hope that he will prove his worth in the Asia Cup and more importantly during the long tour of England,” he added.

Afridi’s Pakistan will meet old rivals India, hosts Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the four-nation Asia Cup to be played in Dambulla from June 15-24. From Sri Lanka, Pakistan will leave for England where they will play two Tests and two Twenty20 Internationals against Australia before meeting England in four Tests, five One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 games.

Butt will be one of Pakistan’s key players in Sri Lanka and in England. He has so far featured in 27 Tests, 76 one-dayers and 22 Twenty20 Internationals for Pakistan since making his debut in 2003.

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