Learning from Salman Butt

11 06 2011

Remember last summer when all the sportswriters in England were getting excited about how eloquent Salman Butt was? Well, he does. And now that his schedule has freed up somewhat, he’s on TV a lot. It’s too bad most of the talk shows are in Urdu so only those who understand Urdu/Hindi can be subjected to enjoy his expert commentary on everything from legspin to ethics. So I’m going to translate some of his most profound thoughts.

Butt started batting against Afridi during the run-up to the World Cup that the PCB turned into a captaincy race between Afridi and Misbah.

Speaking exclusively to News One, Salman Butt said that the current team is stronger (on paper?) than the Test team but weak leadership and the lack of planning it demonstrates is the the real reason behind its failure.
“The (current ODI) team is more or less the same as the one that won (the Test series v. NZ), and has also performed well in recent Test matches. The two or three changes to the team are the additions of very experienced players who have come in, who have been playing cricket for fifteen odd years. But I think a lack of planning and very weak leadership is the reason (for their loss), because the same team appears to be a different unit when they’re in a Test match, but when they come in to a one-day, it looks like they don’t even know what they have to do.”

“A person who himself is clueless – if he comes and says you should do this and not that, his words will neither be effective nor hold any weight. I think the captain should be a leader who leads by example. And right now, since Misbah is in great form, and has leadership qualities in any case, you can say he’s a born leader… from the players in the current team.”

He hasn’t looked back since.

He was an expert commentator on Pakistan’s Channel 5 during the World Cup. I didn’t catch much of that coverage (because I was too busy experiencing Shahid Bhai kick ass in Sri Lanka), but I did watch him try his best to explain away Afridi’s success by saying things like “the minnows lost their wickets to him because they were playing him as a spinner, but he can’t spin the ball much.”

He’s back to prime-time punditry to share his expertise on the Afridi vs. the PCB drama. His shoes should tell you all you need to know about him, but i’ll share some of his most thoughtful comments anyway.

Salman Butt turns out to talk

On compromise and sacrifice
He felt that, regardless of his grievances with the board, Afridi should have shut up and played instead of demanding to play only on his own terms, “because you work for the prosperity of the country.”

On respect
His message to Afridi, and possibly to every ice-cream conglomerate czar, football club owner and sports agent: “You have to respect the profession from which God gives you respect.”

On role models
“Kids watch you and want to become you (Afridi) or Imran or Wasim, so don’t leave them with examples that are not there to follow.”

On records
“If Afridi says he did well with a broken team, I can also say I had a broken team after he ran away after the First Test against Australia. Never in 400-500 years have you seen a captain run away from a 4-month tour after the First Test!” said Butt, who became the first captain in 400-500 years to not attend the post-match ceremony because everyone had found out he was a cheat before the start of the 5th day’s play.

On popularity
The opener from Lahore, who took over the captaincy from Afridi and also averaged just 6.05 fewer runs than him as a Test bat, had the following to say about the street support Afridi seemed to enjoy: “Anyone can gather a few people together for a protest, we all know how things are done in Pakistan.” A valid point indeed, and one that made me wonder whether my check from the MQM / ANP / Mian Sahab was already in the mail.

Afridi meets fans outside the Sindh High Court © AP PHOTO

Popularity is overrated, thinks Butt. © AFP

On reconciliation
In an apparent shift from his scathing criticism of the PCB for suddenly abandoning all support for the spot-fixing trio he led to a few ice-cream-parlour sponsored extras last summer, Butt also pointed out that: “Apart from him (Afridi), no other player has any issues with the PCB.”

On the responsibility that comes with authority and stardom
“You are Pakistan’s captain, God has given you so much respect, you should be careful….”

On what it’s all about
Butt also said Afridi’s impulsiveness was hurting the country, that his stories didn’t match up, and that all this meant that he was “not setting a good example.” After all, he said, “it’s about the country.”

Links to the videos

Most of the quotes are from an episode of Khailta Pakistan (no idea what channel that show runs on, but if you do, please comment to let me know because I have a few questions for the host who can’t get that smirk off his face), which you can watch here:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

The last two quotes are from Salman Butt’s appearance on an ARY News talk show, along with Mohammad Ilyas and Ijaz Butt, which you can watch here (thanks to Faran for the link): 

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:







6 responses

11 06 2011
Faran Ghumman

I take it as an entertainment, so I quite enjoy it, after all its about the country

11 06 2011
Nabeel Ahmed

Some of his arguments are valid, it’s just he’s COMPLETELY the wrong person to be making them. It’s not just a ‘bit rich’ for him to be talking about captaincy and ethics and proper etiquette. But some of what he says is true, nay?

11 06 2011

Translation to all this : Salman Butt is a Douchebag

Stupid guy even let me down, he humiliated my confidence and all the excitement I felt, when his captained team beat Aus. but then he fooled me. Humiliated me. I spit on him for that.

I even went on to mock innocent Afridi, because he became captain, realized he shouldn’t have been playing test, and make a way for youngster. so he retired, it was just a fun and all. but then to see Salman make even bigger fun of my emotions!! sigh!

I will never ever forgive him for that. and now these statements! On what integrity? Does he even know the meaning of word, guilt?

What a douche.

14 08 2011
31 01 2012

Salman Butt: “Mulk ka naam nahin badnaam hona chahiye!”

28 06 2013

Salman Butt has lived up to his last name.

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