Politics October 11, 2010

Younis Khan: a selection scandal

Many gruesome disasters have befallen Pakistan cricket in the past 18 months

Amid the regrets, withdrawals, and reversals that pour forth from the orifice of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), one policy remains constant: Younis Khan is barred from selection for the national team. The facts are simple and as ever, they paint a dismal picture for the Chairman of the PCB. Younis is available for selection, yet the selectors are unable to select him. He has no case to answer following the ridiculous ban imposed upon him by the PCB but his case is still open.

The question is why? And the answer is simple: Mr Butt has a shifting policy on apologies. The players banned, barred, or suspended following the disastrous tour of Australia have eased their path back into the team with a well-timed apology to Mr Butt. What they were apologising for, nobody was clear. Why they then apologised is only for their consciences to answer. Mohammad Yousuf's equally well-timed retirement helped him bypass any action from the PCB and obviate the need for an apology.

Yousuf, aside, Mr Butt is big on people apologising to him. When the boot is on the other foot, however, his love of an apology vanishes in a flash. Mr Butt's recent slander of the ECB and its cricket team was followed by a show of defiance that an apology would not follow. For once, he was true to his word. His carefully-worded, legally-crafted retraction did not contain the word 'apology'. It contained intonations of regret, withdrawal, and misunderstanding but no apology in sight.

Indeed, why stop at the ECB? Mr Butt owes some hefty apologies to Pakistan cricket supporters for the destruction of Pakistan cricket. You see, for a man so reluctant to offer any kind of apology for his own misdeeds, it is the cruelest of ironies that he is demanding an apology, a personal one, from Younis, before he allows Mohsin Khan to select him.

What that apology is for, nobody is quite sure? If Mr Butt wants to tell us, we'd be delighted to hear, but I suspect that silence speaks volumes about the lack of gravity of Mr Butt's charge. Younis, for his part is clear and always has been: Why apologise when you have nothing to apologise for?

And thereby hangs the tale of the predicament and the tragedy of Pakistan cricket, that there is no room for a man of principle in the Pakistan cricket team.

Younis has had his fair share of detractors. Mr Butt, of course. Many of the players were unhappy with him and swore an oath against his captaincy. When Pakistan were struggling against Australia this summer, I was reliably informed that 'The Boys' would welcome back Yousuf but they would not want Younis back in the team. The events of the past few weeks, however, have cast all those objections to Younis in a very different light.

Many gruesome disasters have befallen Pakistan cricket in the past 18 months. But perhaps one of the most serious, and easily forgotten among the tidal wave of calamaties, is how the chairman of the national cricket board is killing the career of a World Cup-winning captain. This is a selection scandal that requires an apology - even regret or retraction - from Mr Butt and his hopeless cricket board. Younis Khan owes Mr Butt nothing, least of all an apology.

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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • fanedlive on February 4, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    I dont know why but cricket is far more better in india. if they have good system in india. why cant pakistan. they have same sort of talent. india is at the moment number one team and pakistan coz of politics going down and down. someone have to stand up against that

  • fanedlive on November 22, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    Younas, should always have been a part of pakistan team. Why did he lose captaincy, after a fateful tour of UAE? The Ex manager and a band of players were instrumental in the coup against Yunus.

    Selection of Yousaf as Pakistan's Captain dropped as a bomb shell on the ambitious gang who were contemplating a hold on leadership... Akmals, Shoaib Malik, Butt and their gang made sure that Pakistan never wins under the Captaincy of Yousaf.. and that is what happened on the disastrous tour of Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia..

    No one accepted Yousaf as their leader, as he was made to look like an idiot on the field. Even Younas, did not give yousaf the due respect and support for other reasons. The after tour probe, and what happened later is a long story.

    Now that, We have a new captain, It is yet to be seen, whether the team accepts him as their leader, and give out their best in the name of playing for Pakistan, and not for personal glorification.

    Let's say no to intrigues.

  • fanedlive on November 16, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    younus khan= class batsman, bring stability into Pakistans batting line up, as we saw today made 131* not out. Best captain pakistan could of had, but they for some reasons didnt want him, under him they had growing successs.... even though he may be slightly out of form he still has a positive mentality and tat may be just whatt the team needs right now.

  • fanedlive on November 12, 2010, 0:24 GMT

    We are talking about a country that never had democracy, everything is done to please and benefit the people in government, the PCB is just a tiny reflection of how things work in this country! You are corrupt you will be given a chance as long as you don't get caught, if one does get caught there has to be some damage control, but dont worry your backs are safe, you'll be given another chance... anyone else with even a tiny sense of self-esteem and dignity can to hell for all they care.

  • fanedlive on November 9, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    Mr Butt should abdicated from their post. n Youns khan should take responsibility of captain

  • fanedlive on October 24, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    Dear Kamran bhai.What is the us of writing such article when it is understood that no one can remove Butt.He is best friend of Zardari and as long Zardari is there it will go like this.This is pity for Pakistan cricket.Every one is writing but it is wasate of time.Misbal Haq have no place in team and he is made captain.Actually Younis Khan must be put as captain.Mohsin Khan can not control his emotions and he is made chief selcetor.He is not giving chance to deserve players and instead pleasing Butt.It is foul's paradise for Pakistan team to get any place in WORLD CUP.Still we will watch matches coz we can not help it. Good luck pakistan team for home series of S.A.PAKISTAN ZINDA BADD.

  • fanedlive on October 22, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    Dear Kamran bhai I 100% agree with you, but in my opinion problem with Pakistan cricket is deeper than just Mr Butt.Whole set up is corrupt and we need knowledgeable people to run cricket affairs. If we carry on like this i am sure even Bangladesh will be able to beat us in few years time and we will all be thinking how come we reached to this stage. First of all we need good first class structure so that we can have replacements ready for every player. We need to educate players so that they can handle media with confidence. Make them aware about drugs and match fixing and above all make them a united bunch so they play as a team. Due to insecurities we have groups in the team which is destroying Pakistan cricket. World cup is few months away and we are still million miles away from our settled squad of sixteen. Wake up Pakistan cricket administrators before it's too late.

  • fanedlive on October 19, 2010, 19:15 GMT

    Hear hear. Somewhere in the future, there's a film or book to be made of Younus' story. I've always been thoroughly impressed with his manner and persona; he does seem a man of integrity. Unfortunately, the story of Younus Khan shall most likely embody the tragedy of Pakistan cricket. A pitch-black comedy, laced with farce, and a decent man doomed by his own principles in a twisted system... almost writes itself!

  • fanedlive on October 17, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    Totally agree.

    One thing that bothers me is that Younis, if selected again as captain, should commit permanantly, he knows the set up in pakistan, so if he once again takes captaincy and then throws a wobbly and resigns, he is not doing anyone any favours.

    Also, you can select him but we need batsemen with form behind them too, is he match fit and ready?.

  • fanedlive on October 17, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    cant help but wonder whether the rot starts at the top. would it be possible to spot or match fix without the involvement of the administration? if that conjecture were correct, where in lies the motivation to pick a player who wouldnt toe the administration's line. as an indian, i have enjoyed watching younis and yousuf. amir and asif (with their clean actions) were a joy to behold. perhaps the administration requires cleaning up first and establishment of strong leadership before judging the players. and remarkably talented players emerge from pakistan. cricket is poorer for the crime committed by a lack of leadership in the pcb.

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