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Salman, Asif deserve same chance as Amir: Waqar Younis

Pakistan cricket head coach Waqar Younis has thrown his weight behind left-hand batsman Salman Butt and right-arm pacer Muhammad Asif’s international return, saying they should be treated the same way as rehabilitated left-arm bowler Muhammad Amir, the Press Trust of Indiareported.

“The way I see it, if Butt and Asif perform well in their comeback in domestic cricket, why can’t they be considered for a second chance to play international cricket?” said Waqar, while talking to a private news channel.

National One-Day Cup: Salman, Asif return to competitive cricket in style

“All three committed the same mistake and also underwent the same punishment so why should they be treated differently,” added Waqar.

Salman surprised everyone with a century in the national one-day championship on his return to competitive cricket after a gap of five and half years. Meanwhile, Asif also took two wickets to cause a stir.

Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan and T20 captain Shahid Afridi said it would be difficult for Salman and Asif to make a comeback as compared to Amir.

Afridi was also of the view that Salman and Asif should not be given a second chance as they had lied about their involvement in the spot-fixing case for three years and even criticised the Pakistan team when they were banned.

Butt, Asif return to domestic action

“I don’t know what Afridi is thinking. Maybe, he has his reasons but generally I think Salman and Asif deserve the same chance as Amir and if they show form and fitness, why not consider them for selection?” the coach further asked.

Waqar added that it was time to move on and forgive Amir and accepting him back was the first step.

“Look we basically cut their hands by banning them from all cricket for five years, it was a strong punishment for what they did,” said Waqar. “Now that they have served their punishment and appear to have learnt their lesson why shouldn’t they be given a second chance, it could also be good for Pakistan cricket. There has never been any doubt about their cricket abilities,” he added.

Salman Butt returns to domestic cricket with smashing century

Waqar also urged people to forgive the three players and support them. “There were reservations among the players when Amir joined the camp but things have improved and I think everything will settle down with time,” he said. “We expect some reaction from the crowd and generally in New Zealand but it will go away with time. I just think right now we are putting too much pressure on Amir and he needs to be allowed to focus solely on cricket.”

Waqar also commented on Pakistan Test captain and veteran batsman Younus Khan’s Test career saying that they should continue for at least a year.

“I don’t know what their plans are but I personally would say they should tour England and Australia for the test series this year and then decide what to do,” he said.

“I always tell  young players you don’t need to learn much from me just look there at Younus, just see how he prepares for a match. I have told them he is an institution in himself, the way he has played his entire career.

“We will need them over the next one year for sure but I think the positive thing for Pakistan cricket is we have good replacements for test matches.