Pakistan news November 11, 2009

Younis quits, says he's lost command


Younis Khan has given up the captaincy of Pakistan once again, and taken a temporary break from the game altogether, after failing to overcome a long-running rift with a group of players. Effectively, after Younis informed the Pakistan board chairman Ijaz Butt of his decision, it signaled a victory for player power over an unpopular captain.

"I met the chairman today and told him I needed to rest," Younis told Cricinfo. "I told him I feel as If I have no command over this team. And if a leadership has no command over its players, what is the point of continuing to lead? I also told him that the last 3-4 months have been very trying times for me, not just with the cricket but all that has happened outside it. I need time to get myself together now."

At least eight or nine players in the current squad have been unhappy with Younis as captain for a while and had made their concerns clear to Butt immediately after the Champions Trophy. The loss to New Zealand in the three-match ODI series, in which Younis failed with the bat, cranked up the pressure, with a number of voices in Pakistan calling for his ouster. Today Younis decided that he had lost "command" over the team and carrying on was not an option.

The PCB immediately named Mohammad Yousuf, senior batsman and one-time stand-in captain, as the man to lead the side in a three-Test series in New Zealand beginning later this month. Kamran Akmal, the wicketkeeper, will be his deputy.

The PCB's no-frills press release stated simply that Younis had asked for a rest and Butt is reported to have said that they did not object to the decision. "We did appoint Younis captain until the 2011 World Cup, subject to his performance and fitness, but we have no objection to him asking for a rest, and I don't think it's turmoil in Pakistan cricket," he said.

Younis' tenure, which began earlier this year, has been crippled by a lack of support from his players. Ostensibly his resignation last month, after the Champions Trophy, was over the match-fixing allegations leveled against his side, but as the affair progressed it became increasingly clear that Younis was trying to outmanoeuvre a group of players who were not with him. It worked briefly, as the board made him captain till the 2011 World Cup, with enhanced powers over selection, but the players' support has clearly not been forthcoming.

Younis refused to go into further detail over which players had revolted but it is believed the group is led by Shoaib Malik and includes other seniors such as Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal. Sources close to Younis say that he was particularly disappointed in the manner in which some players were dismissed in the last ODI against New Zealand.

Though Pakistan ultimately lost by seven runs, their batting had collapsed to 101 for 9 - effectively losing those nine wickets for 54 runs - until a miraculous last-wicket stand took them nearly all the way. But the way established batsmen were dismissed - in a rash of pull shots - on a placid pitch has led Younis to conclude that it was done to undermine him.

"He was really unhappy with the shots some of the batsmen played and he feels as if they did it deliberately to undermine him," one source told Cricinfo. "He just feels as if he is knocking his head against a brick wall, telling batsmen, senior guys, how to play and them just not listening. He is tired of the constant fighting within the team, especially when it is not clear what they are all fighting or upset about. Nobody has gone to him directly to say anything and that has upset him the most. It isn't so much the pressure of his own failures that has brought him down as this."

Younis's immediate future is unclear. It is believed that he wants to continue playing international cricket and will return to Pakistan and play some domestic cricket to set himself up for the Australia tour, beginning at the end of December. A return to captaincy seems highly improbable; neither is the PCB likely to offer it to him, having been burnt so many times, nor is he likely to take it up, given his experience this time round.

As a result, Yousuf's elevation marks a remarkable comeback for the batsman, who only recently was in exile from the national team for his involvement with the ICL. He has led Pakistan in the past, twice in Tests in Australia - both lost - and once at home against South Africa in 2003-04, which Pakistan won. Incidentally, he was also a replacement captain for Younis once before, for all of a day, when Younis walked away from the post ahead of the 2006 Champions Trophy, only to be convinced to come back.

The buzz in Pakistan suggests that former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has also played a hand; in recent days, Inzamam has been publicly vocal about the need to dispose of Younis, openly pushing the candidacy of Shahid Afridi as ODI captain. According to some reports, Yousuf contacted Inzamam - the pair are very close - before accepting the job. Some are even touting Inzamam as the next coach for Pakistan.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • a on November 15, 2009, 4:57 GMT

    I strongly believe M. Yusuf will not be a good captain. He is way too emotional, maybe even more than Younis. He's been in and out of Pakistan team because he didnt like certain thing but when he is playing for Pakistan, you don't have a squack from him. That says that he's just a big baby. He can't field even if his life depended on it, so how's he going to tell others to do better jobs. He plays for himself. He has gotton more people run-out than anyone in the history of cricket. I am not bashing him. He probably is a good cricketer, but does not have the personality to be a good captain. I believe PCB is playing politics with team on a very big level.

  • naveed on November 14, 2009, 23:57 GMT

    It is sad that Younis had to give up captaincy due to in-house power play filled with intrigues and cabals. Very soon, cricket board and other players will realize that things like this do not build any strong foundations. We know what happened to our cricket once Imran Khan left. Since then Pakistan cricket has been lacking unity, discipline and glory. On the other hand, Younis instead of resigning should have dropped those players who were undermining his authority and command for a few matches. Knowing the fact that Younis has been out of form, he found it tough to resort to sterner measures against those who were planning his downfall. But Younis must know that for him to perform and focus on his batting along with captaincy, he needed to step up and act like a leader reprimanding those who were not lending their ears to him. Please make a strong come back and show that you have the mettle and strength to lead Pakistan to a glorious path.

  • Karthik on November 13, 2009, 4:50 GMT

    It would be interesting to have the statistics of how many captains Pakistan have had over the recent times. Say the last 2 decades or so. Given the typical fanatic approach, this not only leads to extreme rigidity to follow a new head after a self fall, but also gives rise to scheming to avoid giving success to the leader. Individual performances are fine, but its the team work that matters mate, to get to that extra yard of attaining exceptional results.

  • Maarif on November 13, 2009, 0:59 GMT

    I read the comments, I respect the individuals who posted them. In all fairness, Yunus Khan never had it in the first place. He has an attitude problem and time after time the funny BCP, goes out and makes a fool out of itself. Let Yunus Khan stay away from being a captain once and for all. If he is unable to show respect to the country, his team and above all to the game of cricket. He should rest and be a permanent bench warmer. I say bring in the real gems from Under 19 teams who won back to back world cup and would have won the third one had Mr Naseem Ashraf not walked in on the day to throw the match, to his bossman mushy's friends the indians. Abdul Qadir was right and still is Yunus Khan is not fit to be a part of any team let alone,lead the national team for any version of the game. He has limited strokes, and can only stay and score on placid and dead tracks. He had his chance too many. And now the exit of Yusuf begins, yes Mr. Ijaz Butt? come on Pakistan!!!be Pakistani.WIN IT

  • Ravish on November 12, 2009, 23:11 GMT

    I think some things never change. 1. Pakistan keeps producing very good quality young cricketers like a production factory. 2. They keep infighting all the time. A next coup is always around the corner. 3. For them, a great win should always be followed by a loss to an underdog. 4. India can never produce one quality pace bowler in decades. 5. India will always try to balance their wins with losses to always remain mediocre. 6. Australia keeps generating quality replacements to replace current crop. 7. Australia keeps generating the most committed and most disciplined players- like forever. 8. Subcontinental teams always produce below average fielding teams ( a couple of good fielders do not make a good fielding team) 9. A few Indian players think they are too big of divas to dirty their whites diving. 10. England will never win an ICC tournament.

  • param on November 12, 2009, 21:14 GMT

    LOL@last paragraph : Yousuf as captain and Inzi as coach ....shan't be surprised if 9 of the 10 wickets are to run outs or to left arm spin (right now the usual number in a match is 5-6:P)...

    On a serious note, I do agree to some extent with Younis that batsmen undermined him deliberately . Some of the shots Afridi, Akmals, Malik played in 3rd ODI were not only brainless but also unnecessary. It is the job of a team to play for its country , not play poorly coz they dont get on well with captain. I am an Indian and you dont see Yuvraj undermining coz Dhoni was given the captaincy and he wasnt even if he was the better choice as a batsman and experience back then . Bottomline is, Pakistan cricket is in horrible turmoil. They should play for their legacy at the very least. One could say there is no need for a captain if every captain meets the same fate. Let there only be a vice captain. It seems better if team make their own decisions and then they will see what they missed out on.

  • Arsalan on November 12, 2009, 19:59 GMT

    im surprised that how people changed their opinion. 3-4 month back younis was the real hero of pakistan and how quickly he lost his place from the hearts of pakistani people. im sure that if captaincy given to afridi that would be a biggest disaster of paki cricket. he is self centered and good actor in field (who always behave after look at big screen) but not a good player.

  • Rezaul on November 12, 2009, 19:46 GMT

    I do not understand why not Pakistan cricket board takes an examplary stance against the politics inside the team. Its hurting none other than Pak cricket itself. The benificiaries are some of the individuals who needs to be identified and opened to the public. If anybody has a problem then he or they can talk to the coach, manager or chairman and express their concerns. But no way you can politics inside the team. We saw how badly Pak lost in world cup and last match against NZL. Yes, we feel that some of the batsmen were out deliberately which is sad and unfortunate. They have to be identified for the sake of Pakistan cricket. You are there to play your best cricekt not to play deliberate shots to get OUT and put your captain on trouble. When Yunus Khan was appointed as captain, it was a very good decision in deed. But if there is this kind politics runs inside the team then no team can success. So, its a crying need to identify these people behind the crisis and open their faces.

  • inaam on November 12, 2009, 19:17 GMT

    this quite replica of our political tamasha - if i was the head five people would loose their places in the team - shoaib malik; the two akmals; afridi; and salman. there is no doubt by their actions in the match we lost the match and series - if they can not accept command of the captain and if they are willing to lose a match by poor play deliberately they should not be representing the country

  • Hassaan on November 12, 2009, 17:51 GMT

    this is very disappointing indeed ! younis khan is the best we've got. it's extremely worrisome to note how the team remains divided and without a doubt, yesterdays match was not played to the best potential, most possibly due on purpose. shoaib malik has been causing trouble for quite some time in the team and it's sad it's come to this. there would be no ideal candidate for WC 11 captaincy than Younis. Shahid Afridi will never be able to lead the team in a similar fashion. hopefully the issues should resolve. as far as inzamam goes, he should steer the fk away from all this. nothing was more humiliating than our wc exit in 2007 under that d*cks captaincy and publicly denouncing ur support for the captain who happens to be a much more versatile one is disgusting.

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