Butt hopes for Pakistan return, replaces Hafeez in PSL

Pakistani Test cricketer Salman Butt talks with reporters in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Butt hopes to make a comeback into the national team after the left-handed opening batsman replaced injured Mohammad Hafeez in the Pakistan Super League. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)
Pakistani Test cricketer Salman Butt talks with reporters in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Butt hopes to make a comeback into the national team after the left-handed opening batsman replaced injured Mohammad Hafeez in the Pakistan Super League. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

ISLAMABAD — Salman Butt is hoping to make a national team comeback after replacing the injured Mohammad Hafeez in the Pakistan Super League.

The left-handed opening batsman spoke in Lahore on Wednesday before leaving for the United Arab Emirates to represent Lahore Qalandars in the PSL.

"I really hope that if I can come good and help the team win then definitely the other things will work out," Butt said.

Hafeez was ruled out of the PSL after he fractured his right thumb against Karachi Kings last Saturday. AB de Villiers will take over as captain in his absence.

"These things always happen in life. Somebody goes down somebody comes up ... nobody can control that," Butt said. "I wish him (Hafeez) all the best in his recovery and hope he's back for Pakistan."

PSL will be Butt's most high-profile cricket event since he returned in 2016 from his five-year suspension following the spot-fixing scandal of 2010.

Butt has played 74 T20s and scored 2,278 runs at a strike rate of 113.5. He has represented Pakistan in 24 T20s, scoring 595 runs at a strike rate of 107.98.

The 34-year-old Butt made his mark on his return in 2016 when he scored a century in a National One-Day Cup and then led Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy — Pakistan's premier first-class tournament.

But selectors have overlooked Butt for the last three years with the likes of youngster Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman being drafted in the opening slots.

"Definitely I've been keeping my hard work going on," Butt said. "The thing to learn was how to keep yourself motivated throughout this long time and this long awaited call has come."

Pakistan is scheduled to play Australia and England in ODIs before the World Cup in May. Coach Mickey Arthur has already said that Pakistan will form his likely team for the World Cup after the ODI series against Australia in the UAE next month.

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More AP cricket: www.apnews.com/Cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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