Younis 'shocked' at one-day exclusion
Younis Khan was baffled by his continued omission from Pakistan's limited-overs teams. Though a regular in the Test side, he could not find a place in the 16-man squad announced for the five-match ODI series against South Africa, and has been out of the running in limited-overs cricket since the Champions Trophy, when a run of seven innings without crossing fifty forced him out of the squad.
"I'm surprised I am not in the one-day team. It's quite shocking for me," Younis said ahead of Pakistan's second Test against South Africa. "I am available for all formats of the game."
Pakistan have moved towards younger players in the shorter forms with the likes of batsman Umar Amin and recently, Sohaib Maqsood, preferred over older hands such as Younis. Pakistan's batting struggled in the Champions Trophy but they recovered well in series against West Indies and Zimbabwe, both of which they won.
Younis' concern, though, is that younger players may not have seized the opportunities presented to them. Pakistan's recent victories came on the back of the seniors' performance. Misbah-ul-Haq in particular has been a mainstay with the likes of Mohammad Hafeez also scoring important runs.
Nasir Jamshed has made starts but his last half-century came six innings ago and even though both Amin and Ahmed Shehzad managed to score a fifty each against Zimbabwe, their form as been patchy. Younis said if the younger players were producing to a high standard, he would have more understanding for his own axing.
"I am happy if somebody replaces me and performs," he said. "Whenever I share my ideas and experience with the younger guys, I always tell them that it's about performance. I think if the youngsters are here and they perform well, I will be the first one to be happy for them."
Younis delivered his assessment on the selection of the one-day squad with a smile on his face and no malice in his voice and he seemed to be making his statements out of curiosity over his exclusion and not criticism. He went on to clarify he is not targeting the 2015 World Cup but will be happy if he makes it that far.
"As long as I am fit, I will carry on playing and I would like to play in all formats. Even after I captained Pakistan in the 2009 World T20, I didn't want to stop playing the twenty-over format (click here for his comments in 2009)," he said. "But once I am not fit anymore and I can see my body is taking strain, then I will be honest enough to say I am going to stop playing."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent