Pakistan captaincy January 27, 2009

Younis appointed Pakistan captain


Younis Khan has a third shot at the Pakistan captaincy © AFP

Nearly two years after he should've taken over, Younis Khan took his place as the captain of Pakistan, after the Pakistan Cricket Board decided to relieve Shoaib Malik of his duties. Younis, who has twice previously turned down the leadership, takes over as Test and ODI captain, his first assignment less than a month away when Sri Lanka return for a two-Test series.

After a night and day of intense speculation, and a day full of meetings, Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, confirmed rumours that had begun floating almost as soon as Pakistan trooped off the field after one of their worst ODI defeats to Sri Lanka on Saturday. They were fueled by a 15-minute meeting earlier today between Younis and Butt, in which the offer was first made. There followed meetings between Butt and senior officials from the board and team management at which it is learnt there was clear consensus: Malik had to step down.

"We asked Shoaib Malik to step down as captain. He agreed and only then did we appoint Younis Khan as captain of Pakistan," Butt told reporters at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. "We have taken the step because our performances weren't great. The end result is not just winning but the performance. We didn't just lose to Sri Lanka, we performed poorly. So we have made Younis Khan the captain of both Test and ODI sides."

No tenure has yet been set for his leadership - "as is the PCB way," said one official - but there was unanimous approval for the move to replace Malik and bring in Younis. "The feeling was clear that something had to be done because the team had performed so poorly and Younis was the first choice," an official present at the meetings, said.

Younis has long been seen as the natural choice to lead Pakistan. The impression was built during an impressive two-year reign as vice-captain to Inzamam-ul-Haq, where he often stepped in to take over in sessions and Tests to telling effect. But he blotted his credentials by twice walking away from the post, which in turn led to uncertainty today over whether he would accept.

The first time he had done so was in October 2006, days before the Champions Trophy, when he walked out of a press conference fuming that he didn't want to be "a dummy captain." He turned down the post again after the World Cup the following year, though reasons weren't made clear at the time. But over the course of the year, Younis is said to have changed his views, culminating in the trip to India at the end of the year, where he expressed a desire to captain Pakistan.

It was understood by Cricinfo that Younis was keen to set some terms and conditions for taking over, but it appears that has not been the case. "As far as we are aware, no terms and conditions have been set," said the official. "The chairman is not the kind of man to qualify an offer. Younis was offered it and he accepted and that is that."

Malik's downfall had been on the cards for some time. His win-loss record in ODIs remains impressive but it has been built on weak opposition. Against bigger teams he has been less successful and the resounding nature of the defeats to Sri Lanka sealed the deal. But as much as on-field results, the pressure built on him because of his inability to build a relationship with senior players in the team. Mohammad Yousuf criticised him openly, though he did so only after going to the ICL. Privately, at least two other senior players were also unhappy with his approach and particularly at the clique he is said to have cultivated within the team.

These issues culminated last week with Malik openly questioning Shoaib Akhtar's commitment during the Sri Lanka series, before u-turning and claiming he had not singled out Shoaib. The episode is said to have greatly incensed the board and though Butt played down reports of a rift, another official hinted it might have been worse than previously thought.

"Many things were discussed in the meetings, including Malik's relationship with players. Things weren't great and as an example, during the last ODI in Lahore when the team was staying at the team hotel, Malik stayed at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). Draw what conclusions you want from that."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mansoor on January 30, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    Younis will make sure that players like Kamran Hussain , Asim Kamal are not ignored and are selected in the national side. Kamran Hussain is a must for the oneday side because of his amazing batting and bowling talent. Kamran Hussain is an experienced Allrounder and the selectors should make sure that this time he is not ignored.

  • Mansoor on January 30, 2009, 9:58 GMT

    The New Test Squad of Paksitan should look like : 1. Younis Khan 2. Misbah-ul-Haq 3. Salman Butt 4. Nasir Jamshed 5. Umar Amin 6. Asim Kamal 7. Faisal Iqbal / Saeed Bin Nasir / Khalid Lateef 8. Umar Gul 9. Abdul Rauf 10. Sohail Tanvir 11. Mohammad Talha 12. Shakeel-ur-Rehman / Anwer Ali Khan 13. Mohammad Aamir 14. Yasir Arafat 15. Danish Kaneria 16. Sarfaraz Ahmed

  • Mansoor on January 30, 2009, 9:27 GMT

    With Younis now appointed as the Captain. The 17 Man squad for ODI's should be : 1. Younis Khan (C) 2. Misbah-ul-Haq 3. Salman Butt 4. Saeed Bin Nasir 5. Nasir Jamshed 6. Sarfaraz Ahmed (WK) 7. Fawaad Alam 8. Shoaib Malik 9. Khurram Manzoor 10. Kamran Hussain 11. Sohail Tanvir 12. Yasir Arafat 13. Abdul Rauf 14. Umar Gul 15. Mohammad Talha 16. Sohail Khan 17. Mansoor Amjad / Danish Kaneria

  • Ameel on January 29, 2009, 19:42 GMT

    First of all to be blunt let us make no bones about the fact that changing faces is in no way an ultimate remedy of time proof deeply-entrenched mess.To reiterate the very fact see the case-in-point by what I mean in Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.Does a captain alone steers the ship off all-time long-lasting stinky filth accumulated by hefty fishy chips and be thought of brushing it up on his own tod.The answer lies in utter negation.I mean Ponting thrived on having the likes of pigeon,Gilly and spin magician in Warne.After they bowed out it seems doom for Aussies.Imran had the intelligentsia of Javed,Akram,Inzi,Aqib and Mushy to reap the fruit. This means the rub lies elsewhere and to me it is the system and top-brass that needs serious overhauling and dire revamping. Having said that,no point arguing that Younis is the best option to replace Malik in the current circumstances although Younis could well be a highly demanding skipper as has turned out on numerous occasions.

  • Mansoor on January 29, 2009, 9:47 GMT

    Great Decision by PCB to appoint Younis Khan as the captain. Misbah could have been a great choice as well. The best thing about younis is that he is honest and a very hardworking Cricketer. Younis will bring in players like Asim kamal, Kamran Hussain( Top Allrounder of our domestic Cricket ) , Saeed Bin Nasir , Mohammad Talha, Mohammad Aamir and a fantastic talent from Peshawar by the name of Nawaz Ahmed.

  • C.Felix on January 29, 2009, 4:08 GMT

    Younus is not the right choice. He called himself "a dummy captain" in 2006. So, whenever he leads the team, he will be viewed as one. The best person to succeed Inzamam after World Cup 2007 was Mohammad Yousuf. Two years prior to the WC, he was ousted from the vice-captaincy for being a Christian; though the PCB stated that they wanted to groom a younger one in Younis Khan. The reaction from Yousuf was that the he converted to Islam. Eventually when he was given the job for the 2006 Champions Trophy, the new PCB Chairman ousted him in favour of Younus. So, definitely, Yousuf should have been handed the captaincy in 2007. After having phenomenal years in all 3 formats for the last couple of years, Yousuf would have been the ideal choice. As far as Younus is concerned, he had declined the captaincy not once but twice, so his commitment to Pakistan Cricket is questionable? For a guy who struggled to make the playing XI in the highly competitive IPL, Younus is not the ideal captain.

  • Chota on January 28, 2009, 18:30 GMT

    Great decision PCB! Now PCB should bring back the banned ICL players and also Mohammad Asif. If they succeed to bring them back, then this should be the team ODI line-up: 1.Salman Butt 2.Shahid Afridi 3.Younis Khan 4.Mohammad Yousaf 5.Misbah-Ul-Haq 6.Shoaib Malik 7.Fawad Alam 8.Abdul Razzaq 9.Umar Gul 10.Rao Iftikhar 11.Mohammad Asif. Finally, I would like to wish Younis good luck and hope Pakistan does good under him!

  • Nihar on January 28, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    To all who replied to me, Pakistan will fail again with his captaincy. I agree MS Dhoni has sparked most of the Indian Team performances, but the fact that the Pakistani team is in ruins and in the modes of being at the rock bottom of the shoudn't even be talking. As for captains, like i said earlier, it doesnt matter whoever is captain of that team because eventually you'll prolly get a new one in a month or so. At least India are more consistent.

  • Bis on January 28, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    Always thought he was the right man for the job. Plays the game hard but fair, gives respect to those who earn it and commands respect from them, isn't afraid to take decisions and doesn't stand for any nonsense from prima donnas. Good luck to the man!

  • taimur ali on January 28, 2009, 12:49 GMT

    he is the best commander in PAKISTANI cricket team.PAKISTAN will now come back on winning track INSHALLAH.

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