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National T20 Cup: Salman Butt declines to lead Central Punjab second XI
National T20 Cup

National T20 Cup: Salman Butt declines to lead Central Punjab second XI

Salman Butt has refused to take part in this year's National T20 Cup after being asked to captain Central Punjab's second XI side in the upcoming tournament.

Butt had been a member of Central Punjab's first XI outfit in the previous edition of the T20 competition but did not get a game as the team finished last on the points table.

The 36-year-old was thus excluded from the line-up named by Central Punjab on Wednesday despite the absence of three key players.

The team's skipper Babar Azam is unavailable for the first round matches in Multan since he is engaged in a T20 Blast stint with Somerset while Ahmed Shehzad is suffering from an injury that rules him out of cricket action for some time. Additionally, Umar Akmal is observing a PCB-imposed ban, creating a vacuum in the batting department for Central Punjab but Butt's services have been overlooked.

The opening batsman was offered to take over the reins of the second XI considering his vast experience, however, the demoted individual rejected the proposal and instead opted out of the National T20 Cup.

"Salman Butt, 36, was not selected in the first XI after he failed to feature in any of his side's matches in the National T20 Cup 2019-20," the PCB clarified in its media release announcing the squads for the tournament.

"In the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020, he has played only one game to date for Lahore Qalandars. However, considering his experience, he was offered to lead the second XI side, which he declined."

Butt was the third-leading run-getter in the four-day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019-2020 with the highest score of 237 to his name.

Ever since his return to the domestic fold following his five-year ban due to spot-fixing, Butt has been scoring prolifically across formats.

He was the standout performer for Lahore Whites in the 2018-19 National T20 Cup, starring for his team in a title-winning campaign.

Butt's weight of runs in white-ball cricket has been met with criticism over his middling strike rate, which tends to stay on the lower side in comparison to the requirements of the modern game.

His T20 strike rate reads an ordinary 112.98 while his solitary appearance for Lahore Qalandars in the unfinished PSL 5 yielded a 24-ball 21 in pursuit of the daunting 199-run target set by Islamabad United.