He may be a traffic hazard and a show-stopper, but Hussain Butt insists he is no master blaster. He says when he goes out to bat, his intention is to occupy the crease and play a long innings. 'People think I like to hit sixes, but that is not my style. I would rather go out and play a long innings. I would prefer playing in a three-day or five-day match where I can bat for a long time than go out and blast away,' says Butt. Maybe he is plain misunderstood, but Butt is now typecast as a big-hitter after his stunning exploits with the bat last Saturday when he sent records tumbling in an explosive knock that halted traffic on Wong Nei Chung Gap Road. It later forced Hong Kong Cricket Club officials to postpone two matches in the Sunday League for safety reasons, including today's game between HKCC Scorpions and Vagabonds (for whom Butt turns out on Sundays). The 26-year-old professional from Gujarawala, Lahore, set a Hong Kong batting record when he scored 311 not out for Hong Kong University against HKCC Nomads in a Saturday League match. His innings, which included 36 sixes, spanned just 35 overs. It was the first triple ton scored in 100 years of organised cricket in Hong Kong. And it halted traffic on the road adjoining the HKCC ground. A week before this spectacular knock - which put Hong Kong cricket in the international limelight with media around the world picking up the story - Butt had been picked as the Player of the Tournament at the Hong Kong International Sixes. There's those sixes again. He is the talk of the town and, certainly, of the Hong Kong Cricket Club where officials ducked for cover after seeing Butt smashing balls into Wong Nei Chung Gap Road. Netting had been erected at the road end to prevent balls from hitting cars on the busy thoroughfare but it provided little protection when Butt was in full flight. 'Most of my sixes were hit straight which is my favourite area,' says Butt. 'Almost 70 per cent of them were hit over long on and long off. That day, I went out determined to do something for Hong Kong University. We had lost our previous four matches and all I thought of was to somehow win the game for HKU and Phil Glenwright, who was the stand-in captain for the day.' Glenwright is Butt's mentor and chief supporter. He has been a long-time member of the HKU cricket team. Last Saturday, he was asked to fill in as captain because the regular skipper was away. Butt wanted to repay Glenwright's kindness with a special performance. 'It came from inside me. I was just pumped up. My only intention when walking out to open the innings with Martin Sabine was to win the match. I knew I had to do something special. I knew even scoring 100 might not be enough as our bowling was not that good and as Nomads were a strong side,' says Butt. The first delivery from Michael Jamieson was on-driven by Butt and the batsmen ran for two. The second ball was left alone. The third and fourth deliveries were both hit for six. The signs were ominous for Nomads. 'When I played league cricket in Yorkshire for Harrogate a couple of seasons ago, I used to play at a ground where the boundaries were 90 yards. And I remember hitting the ball 120 yards. In one game, I scored 167 and they lost 10 balls. Batting at HKCC is easy as the longest boundaries are only about 65 to 70 yards.' So easy that 15 balls (by Butt's count) were lost as he laid waste to the attack. The club were losing balls at such a rate they were forced to use new ones, which were sand-papered to take off the shine. Butt continued to flay the bowling. As a teenager - the youngest in a family of eight sons and one daughter - growing up in his village in Dharowal Kang in the Gujarawala district, Butt used to practice batting with a stump. The slender piece of wood honed his skills and sharpened his eye. Most important of all, Butt improved his footwork. 'A lot of people think batting is all about having a good eye. But the most important thing is feet movement. You have to be able to get in line. It is all about timing, and batting with one stump helped me a lot. 'Nobody could bowl at me. I used to play every shot in the book. I used to train without wearing pads or a helmet and I used to play pull shots. I knew that batting with a stump would help me for when it came to using a bat, it would be so much easier.' Butt went to college in Lahore - the Mohammeden Anglo Oriental College. It is one of the most-famous colleges in Pakistan, famous for its cricketers which have included Test stars Wasim Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq. His ambition was always to play for Pakistan. 'I thought I could become a professional. For three years I practised from sunrise to sunset. I used to run long distance to build up my stamina and I used to bowl 50 overs at one go. But all this effort did not work out as both my shins began to hurt. I had been running on hard ground and bowling on hard wickets. My feet hurt and I couldn't walk and I had to give up cricket,' said Butt. He came to Hong Kong in 2001, having given up on his dream of playing for his home country and given up on the game entirely. 'I came here to join a friend. I had not played cricket for more than a year before I came to Hong Kong and I never expected to play again. I didn't even know that cricket was played in Hong Kong,' he said. But after arriving, he was persuaded to start playing again. His injuries had eased by then. He did not train as hard as he used to and after all this was cricket at a leisurely pace. During the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, Butt won the Hong Kong Player of the Year award. He was the top wicket-taker and run-getter in both the Saturday and Sunday Leagues, a feat never before achieved. During the off season, he went to England to play in the Oxbridge Premier League. In his first season in Yorkshire, he scored 499 runs and took 49 wickets, failing by one wicket and one run to achieve the rare double. The following season he topped both batting and bowling averages in the league. Butt, who can bowl both in-swingers and out-swingers along with reverse swing, began his career as a bowling allrounder. But today it has been his batting which earned him his acclaim. All this publicity would not have come his way if not for the HKCC's decision to take the unprecedented step of scrapping the two Sunday League games while they reviewed safety measures. As fate would have it, Vagabonds were scheduled to play at the HKCC on two consecutive Sundays after his big innings. The Post's motoring columnist William Wadsworth - who played in the 1993 match when Ross Greer hit the previous highest score of 233 - suggested the authorities should put up a new traffic sign on Wong Nei Chung Gap Road warning drivers to beware of flying cricket balls. Butt smiles when told of this. 'I was hitting sixes consistently. But it was not just hitting. I even played out a maiden over. All I knew was that I had to do something special for Phil [Glenwright] who was captaining HKU for the first time in 14 years. It all came good that day.' Although he qualifies to play for Hong Kong next August under the International Cricket Council's four-year residency rule, Butt still harbours a dream of playing for Pakistan. 'Over the past few years, I feel I have become mentally stronger and that I have matured as a player. I still have dreams of playing for Pakistan. I want to go back and play first-class cricket. I hope someone will give me a chance. All I need is three games to prove myself. 'In Pakistan, I will get the chance to play top-class cricket. I want to play serious cricket and not just go out and hit sixes. I want to be regarded as a serious batsman and not just as someone who can hit the ball. I would prefer to play a long innings,' Butt insists. Yes, those Nomads would love to see him play a long innings.