The youthful era of batters have not exactly ventured up to the plate as far as consistent performances are concerned. Now this is the standard of Pakistan batting that brags of ‘capable bunch’ like Ahmed Shehzad and Nasir Jamshed continue to bat with a defensive approach and frivol away overs. In a team like Pakistan, where batting remains a worry in every second game, we have explored more of a dozen opening pairs in the last five years.
After Nasir Jamshed, Ahmad Shehzad, Khalid Latif and Khurram Manzoor have fallen short of legitimizing their places as opening batsmen and their careless swings of the bat have cost us matches in Asia Cup and World Cup T20 2016, it is evident that these batting glitches need to be corrected and some technically sound batsmen ought to go to the side who can tackle the hopelessness and batting drought of the national side.
After the 90's era, Pakistan has been struggling and has been in absolute shambles when it comes to batting. Pakistan had to face this not because there was lack of talent but because of lack of skill. We could not groom our youngsters and impart in them those skills. The two components that clarify the enduring decay of professional cricket in Pakistan are the pitches and the balls, the fundamental instruments. The quality of these two things clearly affects the nature of the players being groomed for international exposure. Due to the absence of quality cricket framework in the nation, uneven, substandard tracks, which brings about Pakistan being not able deliver great batsmen.
The top run scorer in the Patrons Trophy Grade II was Sami Aslam, an opener, where he scored 744 runs at an average of 106.29 with 2 hundreds, one double and 3 fifties. The concern here is the same. Having performed at domestic level with the grays on a pitch which is overused will help him perform at the international level? These issues at grass root level have prevented us in grooming stroke makers who could solve the batting debacles of Pakistan cricket.
We faced serious opening issues at the recent tournaments and the openers tried at these tournaments have all been aggressive players by nature who are often referred as examples of men conflicting with sense and failed in providing the platform for the lower middle order to explode in the last overs. Had Salman Butt been part of the squad it would have been a different scenario considering the fact Salman Butt had 5 centuries against India, 4 of them in India, where the T20 World Cup 2016 was played and 2 centuries against Bangladesh, where Asia Cup 2016 was played. Considering his age, He's just 31 and we have already witnessed a tradition of how cricketers in Pakistan play till they reach 40's. Salman Butt can be the solution to our opening pair ludicrous failures.
After 5 years of perseverance and practice, Salman Butt has developed himself in terms of technique, communication and attitude and proved himself in the recent national one-day tournament scoring 536 runs in 7 matches at an average of 107. Unlike other openers, Salman Butt after getting banned in 2011 for spot fixing at the age of 26, made a successful comeback in country's domestic cricket demonstrating how he can be a plausible alternative for the opening position in the national side for limited overs cricket. His 8 centuries before the ban, 5 against India, 2 against Bangladesh and 1 against Sri Lanka shows the unearth talent and how he can stick out there, rotating the strike pacing the innings.
The general attitude of the Pakistani cricket fan base has always been more biased towards pace bowlers as historically we have produced great fast bowlers like the greats of Wasim and Waqar so there is still that belief that we have a great pool and Amir was deemed as special talent when it came to pace bowling. Moreover his PR tactics saved him a lot of humility and the defenses he used with his PR made the masses turn in favor of him. Amir was termed as a victim in the spot fixing scandal because he wasn't as educated as Butt. Salman Butt's education worked against him but as a matter of fact, even a person with zero reading skills or educational background knows spot fixing and risking the country's reputation is a serious offence. Despite the fact that Amir was a young fellow, he clearly wasn't a kid. Also noting the fact how he accused the TV channels and his captain and yet has no expressions of contrition for his own wrongdoings. Amir was given a leeway because of him being a minor but Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were not given the same sympathy. Age discrimination played a vital role here which cannot be justified because a crime is a crime regardless of whatever the age of the offender is. Age and condition ought not reduce the sentence on the off chance that one has carried out a deliberate wrongdoing.
Yet it is dampening to see the outright hypocrisy by the general population with respect to the likelihood that these two will have the capacity to play once more, in regard to their response to Muhammad Amir's return to international cricket. Each of these three have endured enough. They have confronted imprison time, fiscal fines, mortification and should be treated equally.