LAHORE: Lahore Qalandars have roped in Salman Butt to replace the injured Mohammad Hafeez for the remainder of the PSL 2019 season.
This is the most high-profile event Butt will be part of after his return in 2016 from his five-year suspension for his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal of 2010. He will play under the leadership of AB de Villiers, who was handed the captaincy by Qalandars after Hafeez fractured his thumb.
Hafeez’s absence will be a major setback for the Qalandars, who had picked up the allrounder in the Platinum category and had named him captain in a bid to rectify their poor PSL record: the team has finished bottom of the table in every season so far.
Hafeez injured his thumb while attempting a return catch against Karachi Kings on Saturday. He will undergo surgery later this week and is expected to be out of the game for at least one month.
With Hafeez out, the Qalandars were looking for someone to provide stability and experience as an anchor at No.3, a role that Butt appears suited for. Before he was banned, Butt’s T20 strike rate was 107.98, considered adequate in the 2007-2010 period. His overall domestic T20 strike rate is 113.55, and he has scored 2278 runs at an average of 36.15. Butt’s consistency is also highlighted by his runs-per-innings figure of 30.4, second only to Babar Azam among Pakistani batsmen who have at least 2000 T20 runs.
Butt’s T20 numbers have looked better since his return from the ban. He averages 55.35 since 2016 – the highest for any Pakistan player with a minimum of 500 runs. Azam is the next best, at 39.89, in that same period. Butt has made 941 runs in 24 T20 innings with nine half-centuries since his return to senior competitive cricket.