Younis sets attacking agenda
Younis Khan's attacking tactics did not pay off on the first day of the Test, but Pakistan's new leader wants his side to adopt an aggressive approach to replicate the success of the country's teams through the 1980s and 1990s.
"We have to get aggressive because in the past, in the 80s and 90s, we used to win just because of our aggressiveness. We have a name throughout the world as an aggressive cricket team."
Younis, who began the day unbeaten on 306 and eyeing Brian Lara's record score of 400, was dismissed for 313 by Dilhara Fernando. His effort propelled him to No 1 in the ICC's ranking for Test batsmen. He said he would have been more comfortable against the spinners, but unfortunately his counterpart realised that too. "There was no pressure on me [to get the record], but what Mahela [Jayawardene] did well early in the morning is that he put his fast bowlers in, who are very experienced and know how to bowl on such type of pitches. If the spinners had come I would have started from where I left, but Mahela read [the situation] very well and they got success with their planning."
Younis believed the team needed to improve on their fielding. "On such pitches you have to take your chances. We dropped Mahela on 40-odd in the first innings and then again after he scored 100. Had we chased 500 in the first innings I think the way wicket changed with some bounce and spin the result could have been much better. We have to think about our fielding and we need some training in this aspect."
He acknowledged that Pakistan would benefit from a specialist fielding coach. "Every team has fielding coaches so it's not a bad shout if we have one. It's difficult for the assistant coach and trainer to concentrate on it with so much travel. We had Jonty [Rhodes] in the past and I think we need one now too, whether it's a foreigner or a local."
The flat pitch at the National Stadium has attracted a fair amount of flak, even from Younis, and he was confident the side will adapt if offered a more lively track. "I am not bothered about the wickets. No matter what type of wicket it is, whether a green one or the one on which the ball breaks, I have to focus on how to play on it. For Test cricket I think we need good wickets.
"I have good fast bowlers, good spinners good openers and a good middle-order so I have no need to panic. Maybe I win the toss in Lahore [which hosts the second Test] and Sri Lanka struggles. If it's a flat track it should have bounce on it or if it's a green wicket it should be hard enough."
Not only did Younis fail to break Lara's record, but he was also unable to break the highest Test score by a Pakistani: Hanif Mohammad's 337 against West Indies. "Hanif Mohammad did come to meet me and he was more sad than me for not scoring 400. I've said it earlier that I play for my team and for my country. I've my own style of playing; I don't get disappointed. Maybe I will get another chance. I've still two to three years of cricket left in me but I've never gone after the records because I want to play cricket for my team, for my country."
Despite a torrid debut, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram felt the team should give a fair run to Sohail Khan. Younis said Sohail looked a bit like Waqar Younis but he needed to improve quickly. "He has pace but he is bowling on both sides of the wicket. He is suitable for reverse-swing and bowls well with the new ball, but he has to improve his fitness and fielding and he needs to learn quickly."