ISLAMABAD - Former Pakistan captain and opening batsman Salman Butt says Pakistan cricket team badly needs a specialist opener, as make-shift openers can’t solve batting woes for green caps.

In an interview with The Nation, Butt said: “Opening is a highly responsible job and especially a team needs a solid opener in the longer version of the game. The make-shift openers can be utilised in the shorter version formats.

“When I used to open the innings in the Test matches, I had good partners in shape of Imran Farhat and Yasir Hameed and we had scored loads of runs in Test matches. Eight out of 10 times, batted with Kamran Akmal in ODIs, we had excellent partnerships for the opening wicket. We also had the world record of scoring 140 for the opening partnership in the World T20 2010 against Bangladesh in West Indies,” he added.

Salman further said: “If someone asks me what is the perfect and ideal time to tour Australia and New Zealand, I will say, this is the ideal time. When I last toured Australia and they had the likes of Ponting, Warne, Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and other world class performers and each and every player was a match winner, but we performed well against them.

“Now look at them, they don’t have a single match-winner like past days, as only Warner, Smith and somewhat Usman Khawaja have some experience, while four players are completely fresh. Look what South Africans did to Aussies, as they stream-rolled Kangroos and other teams also had great record against Australians in the recent past, because they had lost that fear factor. Pakistan should have entered the series with aggressive frame of mind and gone all-out for a kill,” he added.

He said Pakistan cricket was badly damaged due to playing in UAE, as slow tracks neither help the bowlers nor the batsmen. “The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should work on finding other neural venues, where Pakistani players may get used to of playing on fast and bouncy tracks, or else Pakistan team would continue to struggle in England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Pakistan is highly blessed with natural talent, but unfortunately, conditions and non-hosting of international cricket here, we have been suffering badly. The PCB should work on preparing fast tracks and also give ample time to the players to settle down.”

When asked about his possible return to national fold, he said: “Obviously, it will be like dream come true for me, as I have worked very hard during the ban period and always remained optimistic about my cricketing future. Now the Almighty has given me another opportunity to showcase my talent and do something for my country. I will grab this opportunity and will give my 100 percent to win matches for Pakistan. I feel personal glory is nothing, unless I help the country win crucial matches.” “Now, my only and main objective is to rectify my mistake and perform well for the team and country. Ever since I started playing domestic cricket again, I had scored over 2200 runs and I am hungry to score more runs. Whenever the selectors provide me a chance to represent the national team, I would not disappoint them. It is quite encouraging that PCB chairman Shaharyar M Khan and chief selector Inzamam-ul Haq are taking interest in my performances and considering me very seriously. I am taking heart from these things,” he added.

“One thing is quite clear that my basic objective is to forget past and burry all the wrong things and look for future. Everybody commits mistakes and I also made a huge mistake but I have sought forgiveness from all and once again I want to assure all that I am a completely different person now and I will perform to the best of my abilities. My message to all is that, focus on your game and leave the rest. It is the job of the PCB and selectors to give me chance, and it is my responsibility to prove my selection right,” Butt concluded.