x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Butt to emulate Imran

Khan, the World Cup-winner and great all-rounder, is the man the Pakistan captain believes personifies the style he hopes to emulate.

Salman Butt is hoping to build a team in the image of his greatest predecessor, Imran Khan. Butt's tenure as captain began with an unexpected series-levelling victory over Australia at Headingley last week, instantly soothing the shock of Shahid Afridi's resignation and retirement after just one Test as captain at Lord's. That latest instalment in Pakistan's always unpredictable story means they should begin a four-match series against England at Trent Bridge with confidence.

At 25, Butt, the opener, will perhaps need to battle the Pakistani culture of deference to age - as well as come to terms with the other demands faced by any Test captain - if he is to make a success of a job in which so many have recently failed. He acknowledges elder statesmen have often been the men favoured to lead Pakistan, but takes issue with the premise that age should come before cricketing nous.

"It is true in a way that it has been like that - you always give it to the senior people," he said. "But if anybody is better, or better equipped, to lead a team - it is the right of the nation to have that person in charge, rather than a person who is old. Whoever can deal with the situation better, handle things better, it's the right of the nation to have that person." Imran, the World Cup-winner and great all-rounder, is the man Butt believes personifies the style he hopes to emulate.

"Imran Khan was the greatest captain of all time that Pakistan have had," he said. "It was the courage he showed - because when he started he had very limited resources, and he picked players who hadn't even played first-class cricket and he made them world-beaters. To pick a person from nowhere, and know the ability he has will shine for him one day, is something to admire." * PA