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October 28, 2009
Younis Khan, Pakistan's Test and ODI captain, has hinted that he could return to Twenty20 cricket despite having retired from the format after leading his team to the world title in England in June this year.
In a television interview with Geo Super, Younis nudged the door open for a possible return to a format he thought he was too old for. "If my fellow players accept me and the nation wants me to," Younis said, "I will come back to playing Twenty20 internationals."
Younis had announced his retirement at a press conference right after Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets at Lord's to win the final. Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, had said at the time that he would try and get Younis to change his mind though Pakistan seemed to have moved past that by appointing Afridi as the Twenty20 captain.
Afridi led Pakistan to a Twenty20 win against Sri Lanka in the summer and will lead them in internationals against New Zealand and Australia, before spearheading Pakistan's defence of the world title in April next year in the West Indies. And responding to Younis, Afridi, on the same show a night later, said Younis was "more than welcome" to return and would even "step down from the captaincy and play under Younis Khan".
Younis had recently resigned as Pakistan captain from all formats following allegations of match-fixing during the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa and murmurs about factions in the team and management working to undermine him. The Pakistan board, however, rejected the resignation and Butt came out in support of Younis, who then said he was happy to take back the captaincy after certain conditions were met.
Afridi again denied reports of a rift with Younis but did confirm that some other players had problems with Younis after the Champions Trophy, which were now resolved. "The players informed me about their problems," Afridi said. "I told them it was better if they directly communicate their problems to Younis, an idea which they didn't like."
Afridi said he had already informed both Younis and the PCB chairman about the players' problems and he hoped in future there will be no communication gap between team players and the captain. "The problem with our players is they don't speak their heart out and that's where the communication gap comes in," Afridi said
Younis has played 22 Twenty20 internationals, scoring 432 runs at an average of 25.41 with a strike rate of 124.85. Pakistan's next Twenty20 assignment is two matches against New Zealand in Dubai in November.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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