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Benj Moorehead: The Life Of Younis Khan

October 16th, 2009 by Benj Moorehead in International, Pakistan, Twenty20


Nine months in the life of Younis Khan:

January 2009: made captain of Pakistan, a team short of cricket-playing options because of the perceived security threat in the country. He returns to Test cricket with a triple hundred against Sri Lanka at Karachi and is briefly the number-one ranked Test player in the world

Then Lahore and the attacks on the Sri Lankan team. No more cricket in Pakistan for the foreseeable future.

The World Twenty20 begins in England in June. Younis’s team are abysmal in the first week of the competition. The captain himself is not helped by a casual post-match statement: “In this form [of cricket] it is better to take it easy and have fun. It is like WWF”. Younis’s captaincy comes under scrutiny. But within a week he has led his team to Twenty20 glory, lended extra poignancy because of the problems of Pakistan cricket and the country at large.

Then a bizarre incident in Sri Lanka during Pakistan’s Test series there in July. The players, though accused of nothing, are reported to have been approached by bookmakers in a Colombo hotel. After an unsuccessful tour the Pakistan media turn on Younis, who instead pleads for more time for a side that is rebuilding after 18 months of precious little cricket.

The backdrop to all these events is a Pakistan board constantly sacking, appointing and squabbling.

Now we’re into the Champions Trophy. Pakistan play well, and no Pakistan captain can wish for anything more than to beat India. But they subside miserably in the semi-final against New Zealand.

At which point an MP representing Pakistan’s national committee on sports asks Younis to appear before them to answer an accusation by a journalist that Pakistan threw the game against New Zealand.

Younis has had enough. He resigns. Ijaz Butt, the latest chairman of the board, does not accept it. So Younis runs up to him following his questioning by the sports ministry and waves his letter of resignation in the face of Butt. Again, Butt declines to accept. The situation remains unresolved at present. “I’ve been hiding from people, from friends, from family, as if I’ve done something wrong,” says Younis.

It is difficult to know what we can conclude from this madness. Certainly it highlights the ever-more precarious nature of Pakistan cricket. Already heavily wounded by its security situation at home, it suffers doubly from a reactionary, ever-changing board, a general mistrust within Pakistan cricket whereby match-fixing is an issue always lurking beneath the surface, and overdoses of short-termism which mean that every venture begins to collapse upon its erection.

No wonder Mohammed Yousuf, and others, have sought to play their cricket elsewhere. It would be no surprise, particularly in an age where domestic teams are becoming a profitable business, if others do the same.

Benj Moorehead is editorial assistant of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in International, Pakistan, Twenty20 | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Benj Moorehead: The Life Of Younis Khan”

  1.   New Zealand vs Pakistan: Test Series Preview « SpunOut says:

    [...] have (of course) been through upheavals themselves, with Younis Khan’s resignation, which was apparently at least partially motivated by a lack of support from players such as former [...]

  2.   A.R.Zaidi says:

    I was laughing when reading about Younis Khan, the former skipper of Pakistan cricket team. You know i m one of those persons who believed that he had no place in the team on merit so how could he be considered for coveted post of captain. \My cause of laughing was that why should we feel sorry for a person who was neither performing with the bat nor leading the team properly. He was always in the news talking high about Pakistani team’s performances under him but record said something else. Just look at his decision to include him in the side in a crucial match of Champion’s trophy 2009 while he was nursing an injured fingure. Not only that he failed in battiong but dropped a dolly catch at crucial moment in the match paving the way for Pakistan’s defeat. WAS IT HIS FAULT TO INCLUDE HIMSELF IN THE TEAM OR TOUR SELECTION COMMITTEE’S, i know only this that due to a bad move, team and country suffered. Younis Khan does not have a future anymore. He was provided chances by the Board but he spilled them.
    Now coming to team performance in Newzealand, Mohammad Yousaf, as we all know, is a very defensive captain and i dont expect much from him plus he is not in his best batting form nowadays.Dunedin test should have been won by Pakistan, had its batsmen applied a bit. Shoeb Malik, ,Khalid Manzoor,Kamran Akmal etc should have a desire to stay at the wicket longer but they made Shane Bond rule over them. Only Omar Akmal was one person who played magnificently in both the innings teaching the seniors the way how to stay at the wicket and play. This youngster is brimming with talent and has a great future for Pakistan in coming years.He showed the same form while touring Down Under with Pakistan A in recent past too.Pakistan’s bowlers did a good job but everybody knows their main dtrengrh always lies in their batting.I give the curse to Pakistan’s slow wickets. Whenever team tours Newzealand, Australia, England or South Africa, batsmen cannot play moving balls on greenish wickets. Is it not the time for PCB to wake up and prepare fast wickets in Pakistan during domestic cricket? Otherwise we may have to see more batting disasters in coming years.

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