Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Letter to Salman Butt

Dear Salman,

I started following you from your days in the Under 17s. I still remember how I started loving Slazenger bats with yellow coloured grips, just because I saw you playing with it in an Asia Cup match back then. I still remember, randomly enough, Habib Oil Mills sponsored that tournament.

I still remember your test debut against Bangladesh at Multan, where you made a quick fire 37 in the second innings. Salman, I still remember your ODI debut against West Indies, where you were out for a duck, caught in the slip. By the way, you have carried that illness throughout your career. It was a decent delivery by Ian Bradshaw anyhow.

How can I forget your innings at the Eden Gardens? You battled cramps and immense pressure to guide Pakistan through. It was the month of Ramadan too! Good old times, Salman.

You toured Australia with the team next and boy, didn't you play well! I remember you making a statement against Glen McGrath in the second test at Melbourne, hitting out in his very first over. Of course it was after the debacle at Perth where we were bowled out for 72.What a promising start it was against the best team in the world, a fifty in your third test and a hundred in the fourth.

You were dropped after another test match though. I always opposed the move, not that it mattered. You were dropped in the West Indies too. Again, I felt you were hard done by. You deserved a proper run at the top.

You made a great comeback against England at home. What a patient 122 it was at Multan. The inconsistency settled in again though with Irfan Pathan making you his bunny on India’s tour of Pakistan.

Salman, I was impressed with your ability to withstand pressure, proof of which you gave time and again with centuries against India in the Kitply Cup and in India back in early 2008. The test tour to Australia saw you shine like a true linchpin of this fragile batting line up. Too bad you ran Mo Yo out though.
But you know what Salman? I always believed in you. When they gave you the captaincy, I was the happiest man in Pakistan. I knew our team was in safe hands.

Was I fooling myself Salman? After every test match, I used to go and see your average. I always wanted you to move up to the 40s. May be, Salman, if you had stayed away from Mazhar Majeed, that would have been possible. I saw, in you, the Gautam Gambhir of Pakistan. Salman, I always believed in you. Why couldn’t you just come out and deny all the allegations Salman? What is holding you back now? Why can’t you sue NoTW? What’s stopping you?

My belief in you has faded away. I don’t know if the allegations are true or not but I just wanted you to know that I feel wronged. Cricket will never be the same for me. Thanks to you, Salman.