Yousuf upset over Younis delay
Mohammad Yousuf has cranked up the tension with Pakistan's selection committee by questioning its refusal to allow Younis Khan to come and bolster Pakistan's Test squad in Australia. Yousuf and the on-tour team management had made repeated requests from as early as the first Test in Melbourne to send Younis over, because they were concerned over the flimsiness of their batting line.
After much dithering the request was eventually turned down, with the selectors asking Younis to recapture some form in domestic cricket instead. Yousuf, having already overseen a series of batting collapses through New Zealand and Australia, was particularly incensed after Pakistan stumbled to 94 for 4 at the end of the second day on a pristine surface at Bellerive Oval in Hobart.
"He is a good player for the team and country," Yousuf said. "You can ask the selectors about why they didn't send him earlier. We don't need to check him in first-class cricket. He has a 50 average and has been doing it for 10 years. We have to see him here, not there. Will someone also take my test [to prove my form] from now on?"
Younis has been selected for Pakistan's ODI squad and will be here for the five-match series beginning on Friday. That is the format he has struggled in most over the years and it was a string of failures in the Champions Trophy and against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi that formed part of the reason he stepped down from the captaincy and the game. And Younis is still struggling to score runs domestically, prompting doubt about the selectors' initial prerequisite that he show some form before being picked.
Yousuf also lashed out at calls that the senior members of Pakistan's squad be dropped now. "In Pakistan there is all this noise about youngsters needing to come in," Yousuf said. "If he is good then sure, like Umar Akmal and Mohammad Aamer. They are good - can they be dropped? But if you force it then what is the point? Why the rush to kick out older players? Is there anyone to replace them? Bring someone new then replace the old one."
The relationship between Yousuf and the selection committee, headed by Iqbal Qasim, has been tense over the course of this long tour. He had Misbah-ul-Haq sent over to New Zealand after the player had been dropped from all three formats of the game just a month before.
And as well as the Younis affair, there has been considerable discord over the matter of vice-captain and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal in the run-up to the third Test. Yousuf was keen on retaining Akmal for the final Test despite his error-strewn Sydney display, but the board and selectors had already sent Sarfraz Ahmed as a replacement and insisted that he would replace Akmal. Sarfraz eventually came into the side after days of Akmal insisting - with Yousuf silent - that he would play.
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo