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Shahid Afridi blocked my way back into Pakistan side, claims Salman Butt

Butt piled on the runs in Pakistan's domestic cricket but was ignored by the selectors.

Salman Butt
Salman Butt of Pakistan. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt who served a five-year ban for his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal of 2010, recently made an explosive revelation. He said Shahid Afridi, another former captain of his country, blocked Butt’s comeback to the national side for the 2016 T20 World Cup even after he served his ban that ended in September 2015.

The 34-year-old left-hand opening batsman who played 24 T20Is scoring close to 600 runs at an average of 28, said he was close to being picked for the 2016 edition of World T20 in India after he had started playing domestic cricket coming out of the ban. But Afridi, who led the Pakistani side in that tournament, refused Butt’s return.

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“I was called to the NCA by head coach, Waqar Younis and batting coach, Grant Flower and they took me to the nets and checked my fitness,” Butt said on the Gsports show on GTV News channel on Tuesday night, Hindustan Times cited reports as saying.
“Waqar bhai asked me if I was mentally ready to play for Pakistan again and I said yes very much,” he added.

According to Butt, his path was cleared for a return to the Pakistan squad before Afridi stepped in and blocked it. He does not know why Afridi did so and neither did he go to the latter and spoke to him about it. He feels it was not right. “What I know is that Waqar and Flower told me I was playing the World Cup and than Afridi resisted,” the former cricketer said.

Pakistan did badly in that tournament failing to reach the semi-final and the performance saw both Afridi and Waqar Younis resign.

Butt said individual players should not be allowed to decide the fate of those returning after serving bans. He also claimed that he was close to making it to the Pakistan team in early 2017 when the Pakistan Super League was hit by a spot-fixing scandal.

What more to do to get back into national side, asks Butt

Butt, who last played in the National T20 Cup which finished on December 25, said he did not know what else he would have to do to get selected again for the national side after having completed his rehabilitation and scoring runs. He also said that there was no point in putting in hard work if the fates of players like him remained uncertain. Butt has scored over 5,000 runs in international cricket and has 11 tons to his credit.

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