Australia v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group B, Centurion September 29, 2009

Younis hopes to play India in the final


Pakistan captain Younis Khan finds himself in a unique position as his men take on Australia tomorrow in Centurion. Already through to the semi-finals, a third win in the group might help India, should they beat West Indies in Johannesburg, to join them in the final four.

Though Pakistan will experiment with their line-up against Australia to account for injuries as well as giving their bench strength a run, there will be no let-up in their approach. There is even a part incentive, says Younis, in the hope perhaps of playing against India in the final.

"I am just planning about each game as it comes," Younis said. "I wish for India to play in the final against us but we will not worry about that in our game tomorrow. We'll be trying our best. My wish is to win against the top teams, like South Africa, Australia and India. There is nothing in my mind about losing to Australia, and whether India will be out. It is only about what I can do for my country."

When Pakistan beat India by 54 runs at Centurion, it was one of the best-attended games in the tournament, in which crowds have generally been poor. The game was sold out two weeks prior to the match being played, prompting Younis to call for more games between the two neighbours.

Currently, relations between the two countries have cooled considerably from the mid-2000s, following the Mumbai terror attacks last year. That, in turn, has affected cricketing relations between the two and, until the Centurion game, they had not played each other in an international in over a year.

"Who was the biggest winner when we played at Centurion? Cricket. India and Pakistan should play. If we do not play, cricket will not benefit. Players become big names when they perform in these matches. The biggest sold-out crowd here was for that game."

Younis did, however, ask for these games to be treated as normal matches, appealing for calmer reactions from fans on both sides following good or bad results. "We lost to India in the Twenty20 final. Then we beat them the other day, what difference does it make? If we win a final, we'll be so happy anyways that we won't care which team we beat. All I say is, keep it normal. Don't hype us up too much if we beat India, or don't bring India down so much if they lose. This is not how life should be on winning or losing. Life should go on as normal. If Dhoni loses then don't get after him or get after us if we lose. Leave sports as sports."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • discover_sagar on October 1, 2009, 2:41 GMT

    Dont worry Guys.. India has the ability to defeat any team in the world thats why we are at No 1 position now.. its very difficult to win a match when you are missing ur 3 best player.

  • suhas on September 30, 2009, 17:36 GMT

    Though I am an Indian, I would like to congratulate Pakistan for its overwhelming performance. Younis proved to be a great captain once again, both on and off the field. I can tell that he is capable of taking his team to the top. His words off the field are quite pleasing.

  • Henry on September 30, 2009, 14:16 GMT

    It's good to hear, that the Pakistanis are going all out to win.... And I Hope they win....

  • Karthikeya on September 30, 2009, 13:49 GMT

    I saw a comment saying there should be a change in captaincy and something... Why are we forgetting that it is the same Indian side that won Compaq Cup in Srilanka weeks ago... been performing brilliant and currently ranked number 1 because of Dhoni's intelligent captaincy... I welcome the comment from my PAK friend Junaid... u r absolutely correct buddy... Everyone does have a bad day in office... sometimes it comes quite often... and thats what happened with India when they went in with PAK... And also PAK had a really good day right from toss and the executed their plan well. Just that one off day. About the second match with Aussie, we completely fail to remember that the pitch was totally flat and there will be no assistance for the bowlers in that pitch. Yeah true it is an inexperienced bowling side, but still who knows if the match had continued we would have won.

  • bhavani on September 30, 2009, 13:27 GMT

    How can you hope to play India in finals without putting in the proper effort against the Aussies?

  • Syed on September 30, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    For the sake of cricket, it cricket administration should get out of the hands of the corrupt and greedy politicians and businessmen. They are the people who will use cricket for their own good, not for the development of the sports. Sadly, Younis Khan and other cricketers (and the cricket loving people) worldwide do not hold the power to keep it as a sport. Cricket is losing its true spirit of integrity, self discipline, and respect.

    Who is winning now? Money and cheap nationalism.

  • Robert on September 30, 2009, 12:52 GMT

    Why is everyone ignoring the fact that 3 of our best players did not play that game? I have no doubt in my mind we would have beat any team if shehwag and Yuvi were playing and Zaheer was bowling. We don't need to make it to the semi final. Let strong teams play. Pakistan deserved to make it but i don't think it would have been the case if india had a complete team. They would never have made over 300 but this is all big IF. It would be just an another embarrassing performance if we make it to the semis. Just come home boys!

  • Martin on September 30, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    As an Aussie I like Younis Khan a lot. What a champ

  • Vinay on September 30, 2009, 11:29 GMT

    I dont see team India deserving a semi final birth in this competition. There should be a change in the captaincy and the BCCI cant afford to send an inexperienced bowling attack to a tournament like this. Dhoni have see to that how to handle the team under pressure otherwise he should opt to be out of the squad.

  • Varadhachari on September 30, 2009, 11:05 GMT

    I think Vinsulin must learn the basics of cricket watching, leave alone playing cricket. If it was not for Dravid, then we would have been beaten by more than 150 runs margin. Again same Vinsulin will say, 'what dravid was doing in the team'. He does not know to read a match report nor able to judge why we lost the match. The real match-losers are bowlers, then fielders and finally the batsmen. Bowlers never learn from their mistakes and you could have seen the result in Australia match, if the match was completed. We have to blame the bowlers or the bowling coach for not giving proper inputs and not pointing out the shortcomings.

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