Pakistan’s national cricket coach Waqar Younis has backed an international comeback for convicted spot-fixers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif , saying that they should not be treated any differently from the rehabilitated Mohammad Amir.
“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? All the three did the same wrong and also underwent the same punishment so why should they be treated differently,” Waqar told ‘Geo News’.
Butt scored a hundred in his first competitive match in five and half years on Sunday in the national one-day championship while Asif took two wickets to leave an impact on the same day Amir left with the national team for New Zealand.
Waqar’s support for Butt and Asif to be treated equally as Amir is in contrast to recent statements of Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan and national T20 captain Shahid Afridi who have said the duo’s case differs from Amir and it will not be easy for them to make a comeback.
Afridi went as far as to say that Butt and Asif don’t deserve to be given a second chance like Amir as they had lied for three years and had the audacity to criticise the Pakistan team when they were banned for five years.
“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?” Waqar said.
Asked how he had come around to forgiving Amir and accepting him back in the national team, Waqar said he just felt it was time to move on.
“Look we basically 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 cricket abilities,” he said.