Butt aims to emulate Imran

Pakistan skipper draws inspiration from past great

Last Updated: 28/07/10 6:41pm

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Butt: big plans for the future

Butt: big plans for the future

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New Pakistan captain Salman Butt intends to build a team in the image of arguably his greatest predecessor Imran Khan.

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"That is the best way for a person to do well - relax and be yourself. When you try to be something else, I don't think it works for most people."
Salman Butt Quotes of the week

Butt's tenure began with a series-levelling victory over Australia at Headingley last week, instantly soothing the shock of Shahid Afridi's resignation and retirement after just one Test as captain at Lord's.

That latest instalment in Pakistan's always unpredictable story means they should begin a four-match npower series against England at Trent Bridge on Thursday with confidence high.

At 25, opening batsman Butt will perhaps need to battle the Pakistani culture of deference to age - as well as come to terms with the other demands faced by any Test captain - if he is to make a success of a job in which so many have recently failed.

He acknowledges elder statesmen have often been the men favoured to lead Pakistan, but takes issue with the premise that age should come before cricketing nous.

Equipped

"It is true in a way that it has been like that - you always give it to the senior people," he said.

"But if anybody is better, or better equipped, to lead a team - it is the right of the nation to have that person in charge, rather than a person who is old.

"Whoever can deal with the situation better, handle things better, it's the right of the nation to have that person."

World Cup-winner and great all-rounder Imran is the man Butt believes personifies the style he hopes to emulate.

He added: "Imran Khan was the greatest captain of all time that Pakistan have had.

"It was the courage he showed - because when he started he had very limited resources, and he picked players who hadn't even played first-class cricket and he made them world-beaters.

"To pick a person from nowhere, and know the ability he has will shine for him one day, is something to admire.

"Then the courage to put them in straight away, and allow them to be themselves, is something not many people have."

Butt is happy to give his team licence to play with their natural flair.

"That is the best way for a person to do well - relax and be yourself," he said.

"When you try to be something else, I don't think it works for most people."

Balance

Pakistan's pace attack certainly produced the goods for their new boss in Leeds, where they bowled Australia out for 88 in the first innings.

"They bring a lot of confidence to me as a captain and us as a team - because whatever totals you get, you are always confident you have a good bowling attack and you can defend it," continued Butt.

"Mohammad Aamer has most skills that a fast bowler needs. He has pace on his side, swing - and the mental side of Mohammad Aamer is very good. He is mature for his age.

"Mohammad Asif is, I think, one of the best seam bowlers in the world - very accurate lines and lengths - and Umar Gul, with reverse swing with the old ball, is one of the most lethal guys in the world.

"I am a lucky person to have all these three up my sleeve."

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