Mushtaq backs Butt captaincy

Former leg-spinner says young skipper will benefit from presence of Waqar Younis

Last Updated: 27/07/10 6:37pm

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Butt: Good combination with Waqar

Butt: Good combination with Waqar

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Mushtaq Ahmed believes Salman Butt can make a success of the Pakistan captaincy with the continued assistance of Waqar Younis.

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The former Pakistan leg-spinner is currently employed as specialist adviser to England's slow bowlers, meaning his loyalties may well be divided when the two meet in the first Test at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

Mushtaq, who insists he will be offering goodwill in equal measure later this week, thinks that Butt may have the right credentials to rise to a task that is bound to prove difficult.

Even by Pakistan's standards, the 25-year-old opener took over the captaincy in awkward circumstances following Shahid Afridi's resignation and retirement after the first Test against Australia at Lord's.

However, he began his tenure with a three-wicket, series-levelling victory in Leeds, where Pakistan's world-class bowling attack was to the fore.

Mushtaq senses his former team-mate Waqar may hold the key to Butt's chances of sustained success.

"Salman is lucky. He has Waqar Younis as coach," he said. "It is very important for a young captain to have a very good, mature coach.

"Personally, I think this is a good combination."


Mushtaq predicts Butt will inevitably have his setbacks, and that is when he will need ex-Pakistan fast bowler Waqar most.

"Maybe it will take some time," he said.

"A young captain has to make his mistakes sometimes, and that's why the coach will play a huge role.

"But overall, as long as they both have a freedom, I think it can work."

Mushtaq believes most of the failings of a chaotic and yet often brilliant team have long stemmed from administrative interference.

"Sometimes we lack freedom for our management. If I'm captain, I should be allowed to make my decisions - wrong or right," he added.

"The same goes for the coach, so that nobody interferes with his man-management and other skills.

"If all that is allowed to happen, I think they'll go in a good direction.

"I think Salman and Waqar can have a very good relationship, and partnership."

With Pakistan forced to play all fixtures outside their home country in the wake of last year's terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore, they served as 'hosts' against Australia.

Best option

Pakistan are officially the tourists for the four-Test series against England, although former spinner Saqlain Mushtaq thinks the latter country remains the best option as a home venue for as long as the security threat remains.

Reports have suggested that the recent series against Australia has made England the favourite to host a mouth-watering clash with India next year.

"It shouldn't be a long-term solution - we need to play at home. If we're not playing in Pakistan it will be a big loss and our grassroots level will suffer," said Saqlain, who is credited with inventing the 'doosra'.

"But if they're playing on a neutral venue, England is an excellent place. Pakistan players love playing in England.

"There is a big Pakistani community and they really lift us. Also, if the weather is good, pitches are good to bat on, you can reverse the ball and there is a bit of spin.

"If the weather is good the conditions suit us. There are a lot of Pakistan players who play overseas in England for that reason."

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