Former Pakistan captain 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,” he 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,” Salman said. “I wish him (Hafeez) all the best in his recovery and hope he’s back for Pakistan.” PSL will be Salman’s most high-profile cricket event since he returned in 2016 from his five-year suspension following the spot-fixing scandal of 2010. Salman 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 Salman 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 the selectors have overlooked Salman for the last three years with the likes of youngster Imamul Haq and Fakhar Zaman being drafted in the opening slots. Pakistan are scheduled to play Australia and England in ODIs before the World Cup in May. Coach Mickey Arthur has already said that Pakistan would form his likely team for the World Cup after the ODI series against Australia in the UAE next month. “It’s been a long time and I have been doing all my training and playing domestic cricket and trying my best to play for Pakistan,” said Salman. He said he hopes he has done his penance. “It’s been a long and hard path, but thankfully this is the first step and if I can carry on doing well things will work out, Inshallah,” he said.Published in Daily Times, February 21st 2019.