Butt clear to bat against subcontinent giants

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2008, 12:00am

Hussain Butt has been passed fit to only bat at the Asia Cup. The all-rounder who injured his back last month has been ordered not to bowl, but Hong Kong feel his inclusion is still worth it when they take on subcontinent giants Pakistan and India in the region's showpiece one-day tournament later this month.

'He [Butt] has been advised not to bowl. But we still feel it is crucial that we include him in the team simply for his batting,' Hong Kong captain Tabarak Dar said yesterday.

'He has come a long way since injuring himself. It is fortunate that he only damaged a muscle and not nerves. His recovery has been remarkable, but we don't want to take any risks,' Dar said.

Butt, who shared the Hong Kong Player of the Year award with teammate Najeeb Amar this season, showed he will still be a key asset in the side scoring an unbeaten 83 in a practice game last Sunday. It was his first knock since he injured his back during the training tour to Lahore last month.

'He batted well and ran between the wickets well. However he cannot bowl yet and since our main focus is on the ACC Trophy in July, we will not bowl him at the Asia Cup,' Dar said.

Dar will leave with a 12-strong party for Lahore today. The Asia Cup starts on June 24, but Hong Kong will play five warm-up matches against local opposition before moving to Karachi, the venue of their two international games.

Examinations will result in vice-captain Courtney Kruger and wicket-keeper Jamie Atkinson joining the squad later - Kruger on June 18th and Atkinson on June 21. Toby Brown will also join his teammates on June 18 due to work commitments.

'Everyone is looking forward to the Asia Cup. It is a rare chance to play in a one-day international. While winning might be difficult, our aim is to try and be competitive,' Dar said.

'Our target this summer is the ACC Trophy when we will try to qualify for the next Asia Cup. But this tournament will be a great experience for the guys,' Dar added.

Still hot

Hong Kong all-rounder Hussain Butt scored this many in a practice session on his return from injury: 83