Salman Butt has been retired a day after his much-criticised appointment as selection advisor to the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Pakistan cricket authorities have withdrawn former captain Salman Butt, who was convicted of spot-fixing, from his advisory role a day after his appointment was announced following criticism from media, fans and cricket experts.

According to a statement from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday, Butt has been appointed as an advisor to the men’s national team along with former players Kamran Akmal and Rao Iftikhar Anjum. Butt was, however, withdrawn from his post by Chief Returning Officer Wahab Riaz in a hastily called press conference a day later.

“I am reversing the decision to hire Salman as we are friends and I was accused of nepotism while appointing him,” Riaz told reporters at the PCB headquarters in Lahore on Saturday evening.

“As chief selector, it’s up to me who I want to hire to help me, so I hired him [Butt] Since he has knowledge of domestic cricket and has a good cricketing mind, there has been a lot of debate ever since the decision was announced,” Riaz said.

“I told Salman that he cannot be part of my team,” he added.

The PCB declined Al Jazeera’s request for comment on Butt’s appointment following his role in arguably sport’s biggest corruption scandal.

Butt was the central figure in a spot-fixing scandal that sent shockwaves through the cricket world in September 2010, when an undercover recording by a British tabloid revealed sports agent Mazhar Majeed bragging about how he could get players to do so to rig games for money.

Then Pakistan captain Butt and his then teammates Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were found guilty of corruption when Pakistan deliberately failed to bowl balls during a Test match against England at Lord’s in 2010.

Butt spent seven months of a two-and-a-half year sentence in Canterbury Prison in southeast England, while Asif and Amir served half of their one-year and six-month sentences respectively.

The opening batsman, who played 33 Tests, 78 one-day internationals and 24 Twenty20s, also served a five-year ban.

After lifting the ban, he returned to play domestic and franchise cricket in Pakistan. The 39-year-old is also a regular cricket commentator and pundit.

“Absolutely diabolical”

The move to appoint Butt sparked widespread criticism from Pakistan cricket fans and experts, who called on the board to sack him immediately.

Cricket writer Kamran Abbasi described the decision as “absolutely diabolical” and, in a post on X, called on Riaz to step down from his position as chief selector.

Fans said it was a “despicable decision” and a “despicable move” to give Butt a role that would directly impact national team selection and damage the board’s credibility.

“An individual’s past involvement in corruption makes it difficult for stakeholders, players and sponsors to trust their decisions or actions,” Pakistan fan Zainub Razvi wrote in a post on X.

Cricket commentator Aatif Nawaz said despite Butt’s knowledge of the game, he needed to be kept away from the current players given the “crime for which he was convicted”.

Wholesale changes

The PCB has made a number of changes since Pakistan was eliminated from the Cricket World Cup in India last month due to poor results.

Babar Azam resigned from captaincy in all three formats of the game and was replaced by opening batsman Shan Masood in Test cricket and Shaheen Shah Afridi in the T20s.

Head coach Grant Bradburn, team director Mickey Arthur and batting coach Andrew Puttick were all sacked, while bowling coach Morne Morkel also resigned from his post.

Former captain and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez took over the role of team director and former Pakistan bowlers Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal are also part of the newly appointed support team as bowling coaches.

The management board has also changed hands frequently in recent years. Current PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf returned to the helm after a gap of ten years, replacing former chief Najam Sethi, who held the position for six months.

The Pakistan men’s team returns to action with a three-match Test series in Australia from December 14.

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