The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently made the announcement of the appointments of former cricketers Kamran Akmal, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, and Salman Butt as consultant members to chief selector Wahab Riaz. While the trio has immediately assumed their roles in the selection panel, the move has faced severe criticism from ex-PCB chief Ramiz Raja.

The announcement of the new consultant members was made public by the PCB, with the trio set to begin their responsibilities immediately. Their first challenge will be the upcoming five-match T20I series against New Zealand, scheduled to kick off on January 12, 2024, following the Test tour to Australia.

Ramiz Raja raises eyebrows on Salman Butt’s appointment

Raja, a former PCB chief and prominent cricket broadcaster, has expressed his discontent with the inclusion of Butt in the selection panel. In a strongly worded statement quoted by Cricbuzz, Raja termed the decision as ‘insane’ and reckoned the committee can not have such a member who has been locked up for match-fixing.

Raja stated, “It’s insane to have a selection committee consisting of a member whose decision can be termed as a display of filial affection or non-affection and another who was locked up for match-fixing.”

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Butt’s controversial past

Butt, who captained Pakistan, embroiled in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal and served a 10-year ban imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and faced imprisonment in the United Kingdom. Butt’s association with the spot-fixing scandal alongside Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif has continued to be a point of contention. Despite his international experience, having played 33 Tests, 78 ODIs and 24 T20Is, his tainted past has left some questioning the PCB’s decision-making.

Kamran Akmal’s inclusion also questioned

Raja did not reserve his criticism solely for Butt, also questioning the appointment of Kamran as a consultant. The Akmal family has faced their own share of controversies, with Kamran’s brother, Umar Akmal, being banned by the PCB for not reporting a corruption approach.

As the cricket community awaits the performance of the new selection panel in the upcoming series against New Zealand, the controversy surrounding Butt’s appointment continues to overshadow the PCB’s decision-making. The clash of opinions between Raja and the cricket board adds an additional layer of intrigue to the unfolding cricketing narrative in Pakistan.

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