Former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt has hit out at current captain Babar Azam and the team management over the move to ‘rest’ Mohammad Nawaz and Haris Rauf. Butt urged Babar Azam to show some clarity in his thoughts and reveal the real reason behind the decision to send the duo home from West Indies.
Ahead of the two-match Test series against West Indies, Pakistan decided to give rest to Nawaz and Rauf so that they can spend time with their families ahead of the series against Afghanistan. Babar Azam confirmed the same at a press conference on Wednesday.
Lashing out at Babar Azam over the move to rest Nawaz and Rauf, Butt said on his YouTube channel:
“Babar Azam said Mohammad Nawaz and Haris Rauf play all three formats and that they are being rested because they have played many games. Haris Rauf has not even made his Test debut. How many matches did he play in West Indies? Three T20Is were washed out due to rain. Are you ashamed to say that this person is not in form so he is being sent back?”
“Let the boys also know that they need to work on their game. Has Haris Rauf played 150 matches? Or has he played non-stop cricket for last six months? Rauf has hardly played any games and you are saying he needs rest. You must be very clear at this level when you talk. The clarity is missing,” he added.
Applying the same logic to Nawaz’s case, Butt questioned:
“How many matches did Nawaz play on the England tour? Even in West Indies, he was mostly sitting outside. If you are sending back players from a tour, it is important to reveal the real reason so everyone in the set-up knows what’s happening. The way it was announced it seemed like two seniors who will be sorely missed were being given a break. Everything was so illogical.”
Nawaz last turned out for Pakistan in April this year, during the team’s tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe. Rauf was selected for two T20Is against West Indies, both of which were washed out.
Nawaz, Rauf given time to regroup: Babar Azam
Pakistan have announced a 19-man squad for the West Indies Tests. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah makes a comeback after missing the Tests against Zimbabwe earlier this year due to a knee injury.
The interesting move though was the decision to release Rauf and Nawaz from the squad to allow them to spend quality time with their families. Babar Azam said he wants the duo to be fresh ahead of the ODI series against Afghanistan in Sri Lanka, which is likely to take place in September.
Speaking about the decision to release Rauf and Nawaz, Babar Azam explained:
“Looking at the likely team composition for the two Tests and giving preference to the well-being of the players, it has been agreed to release Haris Rauf and Mohammad Nawaz so that they can return to Pakistan and spend quality time with their families. This will also give them a few extra days to relax, regroup and recharge for the commitments ahead, which commence with the series against Afghanistan.”
Pakistan will take on West Indies in the first Test of the two-match series from Thursday in Jamaica.