September 10, 2009

Pakistan cricket

Younis' love for football and squash

Nishi Narayanan
Younis Khan and Umar Gul play a bit of football, Jamaica, March 20, 2007
 © AFP
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He may have chosen cricket as a career but Pakistan captain Younis Khan is lending his weight to other sports too. Ahead of his team's tour of England next summer, he will be in South Africa for the 2010 football World Cup as Pakistan’s ambassador. Faisal Saleh Hayat, president of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), said Younis’ interest in football would help raise the game’s profile in a cricket-obsessed country. “We would love to take him with us to South Africa,” Hayat said. “He will be representing Pakistan there and we look forward to it.”

Younis had invited Pakistan’s football coach, George Kottan, to a cricket camp ahead of the Champions Trophy and said Kottan was impressed with the quality of football at the camp - four or five cricketers were, he said, excellent football players. “I believe that football is a true global sport. Almost every kid plays it no matter where he lives,” Younis said. He also wants his son to take up squash - where Pakistan has a more celebrated history - and not cricket as a career. "We have won so many laurels in squash in the past and it's a pity that we are no more the champions,” Younis told Geo TV. “I would ask my countrymen to encourage their children to take up games like squash, hockey and football. As for myself, I would love to see my son become a world squash champion.”

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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