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Younis, Sharjeel suffered last-minute tour snub

Updated Nov 20, 2013 11:58am


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“Younis obviously got assurance [from the competent authority] to get himself ready for the South Africa tour, otherwise he would have surely not missed his department’s match in the President’s Trophy.” -File photo
“Younis obviously got assurance [from the competent authority] to get himself ready for the South Africa tour, otherwise he would have surely not missed his department’s match in the President’s Trophy.” -File photo

KARACHI: Seasoned batsman Younis Khan and uncapped opener Sharjeel Khan were almost certain selections for Pakistan’s ongoing short tour of South Africa but their inclusions were vehemently opposed by the team management, Dawn learnt on Tuesday.

Reliable sources informed that former national skipper Younis was pencilled in the 15-man squad alongside the left-handed Sharjeel when Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq reportedly discussed formation of the touring party with interim chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Najam Sethi on his return to Lahore from the UAE at the conclusion of the one-day series.

The sources told Dawn that even the logistics department of the PCB had requested Younis to submit his passport to complete the travel arrangements for the South Africa tour in anticipation of his inclusion in the South Africa-bound Pakistan squad.

But, as always, unfortunately nothing is taken for granted in Pakistan cricket until the official announcement of the squad is made as the national team management, preoccupied at the time with the two-match Twenty20 series against the Proteas in Dubai, opposed the move — which was sincerely initiated by Misbah and backed by Sethi — to pick Younis and Sharjeel who has been in excellent form for Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) in the current domestic season, the sources further said.

Sharjeel, the 24-year-old left-hander from Hyderabad, had come into contention on the basis of a scintillating knock of 194 for the National Bank of Pakistan in the President’s Cup one-day game against Wapda three weeks ago.

Even the national selectors had supported Misbah’s plea to rely on experienced Younis because the South African playing conditions merited Pakistan going into a difficult series with as many players who had played in that country before.

Moreover, the sources said, Misbah had convinced the PCB chief that Pakistan needed to make a few changes in the squad in the aftermath of the 4-1 ODI series loss and the 2-0 defeat in the Twenty20 rubber.

According to the sources, veteran all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, who made a horrendous comeback to the Pakistan Twenty20 side after 13 months, and out-of-form opener Nasir Jamshed were to be axed for the trip to South Africa where Pakistan initially figure in two Twenty20 fixtures followed by three One-day Internationals.

But the touring team management — Moin Khan (team manager), Dav Whatmore (head coach) and Mohammad Hafeez (Twenty20 skipper and ODI vice-captain) — had its way as both Razzaq and Nasir retained their places with pace bowling all-rounders Anwar Ali and Bilawal Bhatti the only changes in an expanded 17-man squad while Mohammad Irfan (injured) and Wahab Riaz (axed) dropped out.

But Razzaq, however, will not be part of the series as it emerged on Tuesday he is flying back home since he is reportedly suffered a severe hamstring injury during training. Also returning is fellow all-rounder Shoaib Malik who was carrying a hand injury that got aggravated during team’s travel from Dubai to Johannesburg.

The sources further pointed out Younis, who was bitterly ‘upset’ at being overlooked for selection, had started preparing for the tour and skipped the ongoing President’s Trophy against UBL in Islamabad where he was due to lead HBL.

“Younis obviously got assurance [from the competent authority] to get himself ready for the South Africa tour, otherwise he would have surely not missed his department’s match in the President’s Trophy,” sources said. “But sadly Younis was left in the dark by those who now have started to disregard his stature as one of Pakistan’s finest batsmen.”

Younis, sources confirmed, is now being considered by the think-tank of Pakistan cricket as a batting coach — an appointment that could well signal the end of a fine international career which began in February 2000.

Meanwhile, a former Pakistan player was critical of the move by TV channel to chastise the image of Misbah during a talk show at the weekend.

“That [TV programme] was appalling to say the least. How could someone come out with a brainless idea such as this?” the player questioned while talking to Dawn on condition of anonymity. “It was a clear attempt to malign a decent man like Misbah who has played cricket with dignity and respect. One can only describe it as a futile attempt to character-assassinate the Pakistan captain.

“Misbah, to his great credit, remained calm throughout the cross questioning from the interviewers and answered them in a dignified manner which has always been his greatest virtue as a human being.

“The saddest part of this whole exercise was that the chief anchor of the programme blatantly violated rules and regulations because at the moment he also happens to head the cricket board. It was a clear example of an official involved in clash of conflict interests,” the player commented.

“I also fear ground is being prepared to force Misbah into calling it a day. If that’s the case then it could be the death knell of Pakistan cricket.”


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Comments (29) Closed

Baluch Nov 20, 2013 01:23pm

Younis Khan is the gentleman cricketer of the Pakistani team, and along with Misbah, serves to keep alive the noble tradition started by Pakistani batsman and slip fieldsman par excellence, Wallis Mathias, ages ago that still makes playing Pakistan an enjoyable experience for most opponents. For some in the team management to object to the inclusion of Younis in the ODI squad reflects a bizarre state of mind, as Younis's success as a batsman when under the severest of pressure is second to none. In such a scenario, one is tempted to think that there are other than cricketing reasons for the objection to Younis being in the team.

Capt C M Khan Nov 20, 2013 01:24pm

After following and watching cricket over four decades I endorse the writer's comments as 100% correct. Politics/Incompetence WINS again over hard working sincere efforts of Misbah.

Effy Nov 20, 2013 01:54pm

there is a strong lobby of Hafeez, Afridi and Moin Khan, they will not let Yunis be the in the team and wont allow a talented and fearsome player like Sharjeel to come in Pak side because that will put Hafeez and Afridi in danger of losing there place. Hope they get another whitewash and there is a major re-shuffle. Hafiz, Afridi and Moin dont deserve to be a part of Pakistan cricket.

kash Nov 20, 2013 01:55pm

@Baluch: But younis has not perfomed in sa conditions. Good riddance i say.

Asim Bajwa Nov 20, 2013 01:56pm

It makes sense. The precedent has always been to give preference to players from Lahore and Punjab in general. The two aforementioned players will be outsiders. It would be nice if the PCB and the cricket academy moves to Islamabad and everybody should be given a fair chance ...

Rogers Evans Nov 20, 2013 02:53pm

This is nothing ,but dirty politics as usual for Pakistan Cricket. This is quite unfortunate and reflects on team performance. It is obvious from recently concluded series. These poitics have downgraded standard of this game in Pakistam. I do not know if this political game will ever end. Regretful situation of Pakistan Cricket ?????

nasir Nov 20, 2013 03:39pm

Younis khan- apart from being a good batsmen, he is one of the best fielder in Pakistan Team. he is way better than most of these young batsmen becoming a part of the team now with the exception of Ahmed Shahzad. Even on his bad day he at least saves enough runs where a regular fielder would be giving extra runs and his catching ability is something at the top by international standard.

Zuhair Nov 20, 2013 03:44pm

As goes the country, so goes its sports!!!

Zaheer Ahmed Nov 20, 2013 04:28pm

Though Younus, a great test batsman, has an average ODI record which is even poorer in SA but his replacements are no hopers. Najam Sethi with no extra ordinary knowledge of cricket administration is being rewarded for ensuring victory of PML N in the last elections in his capacity as Care Taker Chief Minister. It is an open secret that players from provinces other than Punjab gets at most one chance of showing their prowess at international level. For players from Punjab the number of such chances are infinite. Look at the number of come backs allowed to M/s Imran Farhat, Kamran Akmal, Omer Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Omar Amin and Hafeez.

MZM Nov 20, 2013 04:32pm

@nasir: Who cost you the last ODI in South Africa and hence series by dropping de Villiers' catch? It was none other than Younis Khan.

ishrat husainMD FACS Nov 20, 2013 05:02pm

@Asim Bajwa: cant agree more.u r100%correct

Syed Nov 20, 2013 05:05pm

I'm not against Younis, but appointing him as batting coach?! Where are ppl like saeed anwar, mohammd yusuf? These were way better and consistant in their batting. Batting needs technique, skills and nerves! And same goes for the coach!

Khalid Ahmed Nov 20, 2013 05:31pm

Shocked at Khans exclusion. They dont want him back because one of their own places in the team will go. He not only should be in the squad but probably is the best man for captain. Hafeez will not allow this if he can help it, Misbah is on his way out and he knows it, Hafeez smells an oppertunity and is probably creating his group - even though Saeed Ajmal is a better batsmen than Hafeez.

The sooner Dav goes the better, he is bitter about his sacking and will try to mess things up before he leaves.

The sooner Sethi goes the better. He is nothing more than a journalist and he proved that with the Misbah interview.

Younis Khan: We are with you brother, Younis Khan for World Cup Captain!!!

farooq Mughal Nov 20, 2013 05:45pm

If one youngster fails, bring another one, that would be only way to improve the team. I agree Sharjeel was hard done by, he should be in SA, but Younis is not getting any younger. He was dropped from ODIs due to lack of performance and persistent failure. I'm glad he was not picked. He is past, not future of Pakistan cricket.

Amir Shahzad Nov 20, 2013 06:34pm

Younis has been given alot of chances and he failed so it is a time to move. I wonder why Harris Sohail and Fawad Alam are not part of the ODI squad. Umar Amin has failed in so many inns and still selected. It makes me think sometime that corruption in the Pakistani cricket might not be over yet as Umar Amin and Wahab Riaz were part of the Butt, Amir and Asif circle.

Mike Nov 20, 2013 06:58pm

@kash: You need to look at Younas's statistics closely. In 8 matches he played in SA, he averaged 33, with one 100 and two 50s. In Pakistan, he played 2 matches against SA and scored 100 in each match.

US CENTCOM Nov 20, 2013 07:32pm

I think Younis can and should continue to play in the test matches. I just don't know about his inclusion in the ODI's. On the other hand, we need to start giving young players a chance. Players like Sharjeel Khan are proving their worth at the domestic scene. We need to stop persisting with tried and tested players. The stage was set to try out some new faces on this tour. We had nothing to lose. I just don't know why we keep persisting with the tried and tested players.

Ali Khan

taimur malik Nov 20, 2013 07:34pm

It is shame and bizzare the way cricket is managed in Pakistan. After ignoring and destroying yousuf now PCB is after Younis. Sethi proved to be more politicised then latters.... This is just non sense, country where no respect of merit, talent and discouraging for the upcoming talent likes of Sharjeel, they deserve to be in team. But personal opnion what matters in Pakistan, personal liking is preferred, obviously when useless players like Hafeez consulted what to expect, Hafeez and Afridi both do not have place in team, once they are out, Pakistan will start winning!!! I am so sad to see the state of Pak cricket and the way it has been managed, disgusting, shameful and results are there for everyone to see but PCB!!! Shame, i think Pak cricket is at its lowest point!!!

pakfan Nov 20, 2013 08:10pm

Yonius and Misbah should stay in TEST and ODI batting lineup until Ahamad Shahzad, Sohaib and another reliable batsman(Shan, Khuram, Sarjeel) can take the burden. Please do not expect to win matches from utility players.

In my opinion we should not even think about getting rid of Yonius and Misbah until 2015 ODI world cup is over. If I am not worng 2015 world cup will be played in Australia/Newzeland. Experience will be needed there.

Also we need wicket taking right hand fast bowler for 2015 ODI world cup.

waqar Nov 20, 2013 09:31pm

can any one from the P.C.B tell us what does najam sethi knows about CRICKET? he is only good at any talk show,be it ARY OR GEO.

a Nov 20, 2013 09:31pm

Alas, foolish and selfish agendas of Moin Khan and Hafeez will result in Pakistan losing the upcoming series again. Younus would have been the perfect backbone for the ever-brittle Pakistani middle order line where literally NO ONE has confidence. Alas, the parchi (reference) and source system continues within the PCB. What a shame.

Ali K Nov 20, 2013 09:39pm

Younis is an excellent TEST player but in 253 ODIs he averages only 31.88. These numbers clearly suggests he is one of the many other mediocre players in Pakistan that managed to play so many international matches. I am surprised when people talk about any talented batsman in current Pakistan team. Can't they see the numbers !!! grown up please

optimist Nov 20, 2013 10:37pm

Misbah, Younus and Hafeez have been tried, tested and failed to produce results. Time to try something new. If the selectors keep on trying new blood they are bound to get a couple more like Sohaib Maqsood. Why don't they try Fawad Alam who is a crisis player with a good average. The solution is to bring back Mohsin Hassan Khan as the coach and Rashid Latif as consultant for selection of the team. Pakistan don't require a selection committee, leave the selection to coach and captain.

KHAN Nov 21, 2013 01:53am

Before criticizing Younis or Misbah we should answer the following first. Who should they be replaced with? Shoaib Malik, Imran farhat, Fawad alam etc. Who in the current playing eleven has a better record then Misbah or Younis? We did the same to Mohd. Yousuf and now we regret.

Imran Nov 21, 2013 07:32am

Please give us the names of the selectors. This is not fair that the Captain and Coach have to face the public when the team does bad. The selectors should also face the music.

Ossy Nov 21, 2013 11:43am

Need to build bench strength. Since there is no international circket being played inside Pakistan, we must always have a Pakistan A team tour with the Pakistan Team to give exposure to our youngsters.

Batting Future of Pakistan (given our continuing batting woes): Sharjeel Khan; Sami Aslam; Babar Azam; Nasir Jamshed; Ahmed Shehzad; Azhar Ali; Imam ul Haq; Haris Sohail; Fawad Alam; Hussain Talat; Imran Butt; Sohaib Maqsood; Umar Akmal; and Mohd Rizwan (wk).


Did I miss something in the Match? Was this not a TEST MATCH? That is what players like Hafeez and Nasir were playing like.Hafeez looks so SCARED facing S.Africa Bowlers.

Kos Nov 21, 2013 03:10pm

I i think the the trio of Moin Khan/Afridi and Hafeez are conspiring against Misbah and his choice of Younus and Sharjeel because Hafeez and Afridi are afraid of losing their place in the side

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Nov 21, 2013 08:06pm

In fact, it is a blessing in disguise for both of them but only if they understand.