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October 7, 2006
In a u-turn that would make politicians the world over proud, Younis Khan has been reinstated as captain of Pakistan for the Champions Trophy by the new head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Dr Naseem Ashraf.
Ashraf was addressing reporters at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, having taken over late last night following Shaharyar Khan's resignation. He said, "Our team is no less than any in world cricket. Our first priority is to unify the team for the sake of the country. We are looking at a positive future for Pakistan cricket and in that light Younis Khan has been reinstated as captain and Mohammad Yousuf is to be his vice-captain."
Rumours were rife late last night following Shaharyar's resignation that the captaincy would change hands once again. Two PCB officials had admitted to Cricinfo that a change was likely though Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, had strenuously denied it. Other changes are now expected and Ashraf has set the ball rolling by sacking Mushtaq Ahmed, who had been recently appointed assistant coach to the Pakistan team. Mushtaq's appointment had raised eyebrows recently as he was one of the players implicated in Justice Qayyum's match-fixing report, an inquiry that had recommended Mushtaq be banned from holding positions of responsibility with the Pakistan team.
Ashraf said that he was under instructions from President Pervez Musharraf, also Patron of the PCB, to streamline and clean the board. "All irrelevant staff will be purged within 45 days. "There is no place for politics in cricket and transparency is needed. Cricket will be run by cricketers and the board by good administrators."
Younis had quit as captain on Thursday morning, claiming darkly that he didn't want to be a "dummy captain." It was thought that he was unhappy at not being taken seriously by board officials over a number of issues, including the selection of Faisal Iqbal as a replacement for Inzamam for the Champions Trophy squad. Younis told reporters, "I have taken up the captaincy for the nation once again. Even if I wasn't captain I would have given my full effort as a player."
Younis's resignation led eventually to Shaharyar's and in a full circle of sorts, the latter's exit has paved the way for the return of the former.
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