Salman Butt has slammed the Pakistan Cricket Board for appointing foreign mentors for the Pakistan Junior League, criticizing their inability to pull off anything independently. Meanwhile, Imran Tahir expressed delight in his selection as he expressed gratitude to his country of birth.
The cricketing landscape in Pakistan continues to be embroiled in controversy despite the seemingly developmental steps being made by the governing authorities. Recently, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced the establishment of a feeder tournament known as the Pakistan Junior League, with the aim of grooming young talent and providing them with a platform to showcase their skills. The teams in the competitions would be assigned highly experienced international veterans in order to hone the talent of the country's emerging players.
Former South African spinner Imran Tahir and New Zealand batting ace Colin Munro became the latest additions to the group of mentors and joined Darren Sammy as a part of mentors from abroad. However, this provoked the former Pakistan opener Salman Butt, a prolific opener of his time, to slam the country's cricketing leadership for employing foreigners when a host of retired national players are available for the job. He even referenced the drop-in pitches used against Australia for the Test series earlier this year, implying it seemed the country was no longer able to do anything independently when it came to cricket.
“There are no players who can mentor youngsters in Pakistan. There is no one. We don't even have soil to put on wickets in Pakistan, and you are talking about mentors. You have to bring drop-in pitches from different country, soil from different country, coaches and mentors from different countries. Bring a chairman from some other country too, no? There's nothing to talk about on this,” Butt said, as reported by Hindustan Times.
These comments have come despite the fact that Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik have also been appointed as mentors for the PJL. Nevertheless, the words have definitely not dampened the spirit of Tahir, who was born in Pakistan and continues to talk positively about his birth country. The 43-year-old ended his international career with 293 wickets and was delighted to become a part of the new venture.
“Returning to Lahore for the Pakistan Junior League in a team mentor’s role is one of my most satisfying achievements as I still owe a lot to my country of birth. This is an exciting opportunity to work with emerging slow bowlers and help them develop and flourish so that they have a chance to emulate the great spinners this country has produced," Tahir had said.
"I am fully behind the philosophy of Pakistan Junior League as this creates a tough and challenging environment for the players with high expectations, and only those who will clear this scale will go leaps and bounds in their careers. With the amount of international cricket being played, this event will help Pakistan to amplify their pool of players, which, in turn, will increase playing opportunities and earn the prized national cap."