Butt claims to have crushed players power in Pakistan

Pakistan cricket chief Ijaz Butt said he had taken action to “eradicate” player power in the national team AFP

Karachi: May 12, 2011

Pakistan’s cricket chief Ijaz Butt claims to have “crushed” players’ power on the national team, according to an interview published on Thursday, despite a new row between the coach and captain.

Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis developed serious differences during the team’s 3-2 win in the one-day series in the West Indies, with one-day captain Afridi unhappy with coach Waqar’s meddling in selection matters.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told Afridi that he had violated the code of conduct and Chairman Ijaz Butt said power games would not be tolerated.

“Let me assure you that player power, though present in the past, does not exist in the national team at the moment as I have taken strict actions to eradicate it,” Butt was quoted as telling English-language newspaper Dawn.

“To crush player power, I penalised even prominent players like Younis Khan, Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal without showing any reluctance which in the past had damaged the team spirit.

I will wait for manager Intikhab Alam’s report before taking a decision on the latest case,” said Butt, referring to the Afridi-Waqar row. Butt blamed attitudes among senior players being unwilling to give juniors a chance but said the PCB had introduced a number of new players to the team and taken strict action against “undisciplined” seniors.

“An undisciplined person, whether he is an official or player, will face punishment,” said Butt.

Butt claimed that during his tenure, which began in October 2008 and has been criticised for bad governance, PCB reserves have increased to 3.2 billion rupees ($38 million). “We achieved this despite playing our home series at neutral venues. The PCB was financially weak with the reserves of 1.6 billion rupees when I took over,” said Butt, hoping the revenues would increase hugely if India tours Pakistan.

But the US discovery that Osama bin Laden was living in a Pakistani garrison city not far from Islamabad where he was killed by US Navy SEALs on May 2 will only raise security fears in India about any possible Pakistan tour.

Pakistan has hosted no international cricket since March 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team, killing eight people and wounding seven players and an assistant coach in the eastern city of Lahore.