Australia v Pakistan, 1st Test, Melbourne, 3rd day December 28, 2009

Pakistan send out SOS for Younis Khan

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Pakistan's failings with the bat in Melbourne have prompted the team management to send out an SOS for Younis Khan. The former captain, who has kept a low profile since he abruptly relinquished the leadership in November, is believed to be keen to respond and may even arrive in time for the second Test in Sydney, due to begin on January 3.

Pakistan were dismissed for 258 on an unusually docile MCG track, and only Umar Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq batted with any authority against a disciplined and bustling Australian pace attack. That continued a run of poor performances in Younis's absence on the New Zealand tour, where Pakistan relied heavily on Umar as they drew a three-Test series 1-1.

But the team management has been keen on getting Younis over since before the Melbourne Test began. After the opening day at the MCG, they called up Iqbal Qasim, Pakistan's chief selector, and said they needed Younis. Since then it is believed there may have even been direct contact between Mohammad Yousuf, the Pakistan captain, and Younis.

"They have been very keen on getting Younis over and they called up Iqbal Qasim after the first day to make the request," a board official told Cricinfo. "A request needs to be made in writing and the selection committee will discuss and weigh up the pros and cons before the decision is made."

Younis gave up the post after losing an ODI series to New Zealand in Abu Dhabi, claiming that he had "lost command over his players." It came after months of reported unhappiness within the team over his leadership. He went underground immediately after, only to resurface suddenly while attending a PCB coaching course in Lahore and then turning out, unimpressively, in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy final for Habib Bank. Subsequently there emerged a possibility that he may arrive in time for the ODI series, but the frailty of Pakistan's batting has apparently sped up the process.

Younis' poor form - also a factor in his decision - remains a concern, however, and the selectors are keen for him to play at least one game of the local Pentangular tournament, which is due to begin on January 1, before he comes to Australia. Since making a triple-hundred on a lifeless track in Karachi in February, he has scored 131 runs in four Tests. His ODI form has also been wobbly.

But his experience and track record at No.3 - a particularly troublesome spot for Pakistan in recent Tests where they have tried four different batsmen in four Tests - is thought to be crucial in Australia. Not only was he Pakistan's leading scorer in the last Test series here, he enjoyed a successful stint with South Australia last season.

"Younis has been contacted and there is a chance that Yousuf has also contacted him directly," said the official. "He has said that he is fit and ready to go, but will stand by whatever process the selectors put in place for his return."

That process would appear to depend on how Pakistan ultimately fare in Melbourne. A loss could mean that there is a "70-80%" chance of Younis making it in time for Sydney. If they somehow escape with a draw he could arrive in time for the final Test in Hobart, having played at least one Pentangular match in the interim. The call-up would also entail a current member of the squad returning to Pakistan, and it could possibly be one of the fast bowlers.

A final decision could also be taken as early as tomorrow, depending on the situation of the Test.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • F.zaki on January 1, 2010, 20:24 GMT

    sydney with kaneria back and Younus likely to join and with return to form of Saeed Ajmal puts pakistan in a position where they can expect to beat australia. Short deliveries to Ponting would be another phycological egde to pakistan.Umer is the asset.

  • Osman.Ali on January 1, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    does anyone even remember a technically sound middle order batsman named Asim Kamal?He was much better than either Malik or even Misbah. Just look at his record.He played in the time wen Ntini, Nel, Mcgrath etc were in their prime.37-odd runs per innings is quite good, you know.

  • ahmed_syed on December 31, 2009, 18:26 GMT

    I was just wondering why someone like Asim Kamal is not being considered. He played a couple of rest matches and did impress to some extent. Why can't we try him out??

  • andy44 on December 31, 2009, 16:35 GMT

    I would make the following point: Pakistan's top 3 average high 20s to low 30s in tests. Younis averages 50. I would add that Younis was Pak's leading run scorer last tour here and played for SA in the Sheffield Shield last season, i.e. he has some familiarity with the conditions. Why the selectors haven't picked him in the first place, regardless of what they thought of his captaincy, is completely beyond me.

    However, i would also say that the main reason for Pak's poor performance in the Boxing Day test was the fielding and NOT the batting. Think of the runs both Katich and Watson made in the 1st innings after straight forward chances were grassed. If a side drops in excess of 6 catches, it will struggle to win tests. End of story.

  • BUTT_093 on December 31, 2009, 16:05 GMT

    This appears to be a desperate move by the team management to save face after what was the umpteenth collapse of the Pakistan batting order this year, in a match which arguably would have been theirs for the taking on a placid pitch. My concern is not that Younis Khan is not a capable enough batsman at no.3 but the fact is that this is starting to become a trend by the management to draft in players originally not selected in the squad and immediately put in the playing XI. We saw this with A.Razzaq at T20 World Cup and then with Misbah in NZ. What is the point of the reserve players in the squad who r not going to be picked in the XI in any case. And I agree with MR. MASOOD that the problem with the team is not a lack of batting talent, rather poor application and technique which Javed Miandad has also pointed out, which is also the case with their fielding. Bringing in Younis Khan will not solve the problem, it will only give the management an easy apparent solution.

  • Masood_Muqtadir on December 30, 2009, 20:02 GMT

    Very import advice to Pakistani batsmen: Right handed pakistani batsmen (including Yousuf) need to adjust their technique playing Johnson and Boolinger, they should stands slightly square on, facing these two bowlers. Up-right stance forces them to play across the line, increasing the possibility of edges to keeper and slips. Umar and Misbah's dismissal in the second innings is a good example. Pakistan coach wake up! Pakistan needs to drop Farhat and ask Faisal to open with Butt. Afridi should be included, he can serve as a break through bowler as Pakistan stuggle so much getting break through. Kaneria and Sami should be included in place of Ajmal and Ruaf. If Sydney's pitch is slow, I would prefer Sami over Gul. Gul these days, is bowling around 135km/h, which is not good enough for a show track. Someone need to tell Sami not to bowl too short or too full or too wide, just try to hit top of off stump at good speed.

  • Take_A_Single on December 30, 2009, 14:28 GMT

    Better march on with what they have got. Younis is not in a good form this year. I seriously liked the way we played on 3rd day. It is like against NZ where we played poorly in first test but came back to win the 2nd. Inshah Allah we will do better in 2nd test. Afridi is in australia playing domestic T20 ....hint hint

  • bonefixer on December 30, 2009, 13:48 GMT

    This should be the line up for Sydney: 1. Afridi 2. Kamran Akmal 3. Younis 4. Yousuf 5. Umar Akmal 6. Misbah or Malik 7. Razzaq 8. Aamer 9. Kaneria 10. Asif 11. Ajmal

    Our "specialist" openers are rubbish and the inclusion of Afridi and Razzaq gives us 3 spinners ( 4 spinners if Malik is included) and 3 pace bowlers with a stronger batting line up than the current fragile line up. Reserves: Tanvir, Rana Naved and Shoaib Akhtar ( if we can get him fit!- there is nothing like sheer pace to intimidate the opposition)

    The PCB needs to talk to Afridi and get him to play Test Cricket. Anyone who refuses to play for his country at Test level should be barred from applying for the (lucrative) IPL.

  • gaurav_blaster on December 30, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    I disagre with you SHER YOUSUF. Razzak and Naved dont posses the knack for test cricket as comapred to Gul Asif and Aamer. In general Pakistani's didnt show the boylanguage in the field, their fielding was aweful to be hones.t

    Pakistan didnt have the fire power in their bowling apart frm Aamer and Asif they didnt play any other agressive bowler, Saeed Ajmal was really defensive in his approach bowling over 90kmph+ with a long on from his first over. Rauf who bowled pretty averagely and was very sloppy in the field. I think they should get

    Umar Gul and Danish Kaneria should return, and hopefully Younis Khan came make a comeback. Younis Khan should replace Faisal. Malik should be reconsidered inplace of either of the openners, he is an exeptional batsman and came come in handy as a second spinner on a turning SCG wicket.

    If they have to win they will have to improve their fielding drastically. With the return of Younis, Gul, Kaneria and Malik they'll have a strong team!!!!!!

  • Feeshan on December 30, 2009, 10:47 GMT

    I wonder how pak selectors working! They r working politically rather than working mentally. When the team is not having quality batsmen, why don't they bring players like yaseer hameed, the young ahamed shezad who are technically better than misba and malik. Misba and malik r useless at tests level. Then whats the use of playing saeed ajmal who is afraid to flite the ball, he always bowls on leg stump rather than making the batsman drive, afridi or malik is better than him. Dropping danish and playing ajmal in sri lanka was a stupid move. I hope waqar who was always attacking and positive in his playing days, now the bowling and fielding coach of pakistan ll put some positive things in the mind of players and the captain yousuf who is again not attacking and positive in his job. I think afridi was better choice for captaining odi's than yousuf.

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