Pakistan cricket June 21, 2009

Younis retires from Twenty20 with a plea


Younis Khan used cricket's grandest stage to announce his retirement from Twenty20 internationals, and make an impassioned plea for teams to once again tour his country. The Pakistan captain, speaking after Sunday's emphatic eight-wicket World Twenty20 victory over Sri Lanka, hoped the result would go far to saving cricket in his homeland, which is struggling to attract the interest of younger generations with no international matches being played within its borders.

Younis' final act in Twenty20 international cricket was to lift the trophy that so narrowly evaded Pakistan two years prior. No immediate announcement was made as to the identity of his successor as 20-over captain, but it is likely Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal will be the leading candidates.

"This is my last Twenty20 game," he said at the conclusion of his press conference. "I'm old now for this kind of cricket."

Younis will continue to play Test and ODI cricket, and hopes he will again have the opportunity to lead his national team on home soil. The deteriorating security situation in Pakistan - highlighted by the March terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus outside the Gadaffi Stadium - has prompted national boards and the ICC to push for Pakistan's home matches to be played in neutral venues. Accordingly, Younis' men now lead a virtually nomadic existence.

Younis has previously warned that the absence of international cricket could kill the game in Pakistan and push impressionable youngsters into the clutches of terrorists. Speaking at Lord's on Sunday, he implored teams to return to Pakistan, and expressed hope that his side's World Twenty20 victory would help reinvigorate interest in cricket among his nation's youth.

"I am requesting to all of the countries: 'You must come to Pakistan'," Younis said. "Everybody knows law and order is not good but it is not our fault. Especially for youngsters, we need home series because everywhere there is no cricket in Pakistan. How can we motivate the youngsters, especially at school level and college level? I think this will be helping us build a new structure in Pakistan for our future.

"How can we promote cricket to our youngsters if there is no international game in Pakistan? How can I motivate my son and my neighbours' small children? That's why we need cricket in Pakistan. Law and order is not good, but this is not our fault. We are suffering at the moment from these kinds of things. I think sports should be away from politics."

Younis dedicated Pakistan's World Twenty20 triumph to his former coach Bob Woolmer, who died during the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.

"This final must go to Bob Woolmer," he said. "He was doing good things with us in 2005 and especially my cricket. I would be very proud if he was alive and sitting with me because he's a very nice guy and was a father figure for us. Why I am captain is because in 2005 - at that time I was not a regular player for Pakistan - he was the guy who all the time was chatting with the chairman and the selectors that Younis will be the next captain. So because of him I have become a captain. I dedicate this final to Bob Woolmer."

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aquil on June 23, 2009, 21:37 GMT

    Congratulation to Pakistan Team on winning T20 Cricket World cup 2009. If Younis Khan is retiring from T20, then Shahid Afridi should become the T20 Captain. Bring back Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat for Opening Pair and also include Rana Naveed-ul-Hassan in the T20 and ODI squads. Continue with Suhail Tanveer, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammed Aamer for future prospect. PCB should build living arrangements for both contesting teams within the Cricket Stadium boundries for their security reasons.

  • zain on June 23, 2009, 12:39 GMT

    From Raja Saudi Arabia

    Weldone Pakista cricket team.We are proud of your best play.It is whyy because all our nation was praying for you.God heip those who help themselves.Victory against Irland-Newzeland and south africa was the Alarm for those who Know even one word of cricket.Go ahead boys and get all cricket cups.My best wishes for all and I will pray for your long life younis Khan.

  • Noor-us-Sabbah on June 23, 2009, 9:16 GMT

    wow, I'm still unable to get over it....what a performance...u rocked the country Pak Cricket Team!....u gave the nation a reason to smile , celebrate n hope for a better future in this troublesome hour...hats off to all of you:) Long Live Pakistan :) Amen

  • ejaaa on June 23, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    Congrats to Team Pakistan for a splendid performance in 20/20. well done Younis Khan. I think Pakistan should also try to defeat extremism and make Pakistan a safe place to visit and play cricket. I dont agree with the Skippr for inviiting foriegn teams to play cricket here in Pakistan in these security situations. Even we could'nt give a hero's welcome to our team in these conditions. Till we get control of the situation we should play on neutral grounds and Middle East is a good option, its our 2nd home. The pitches and crowd are similar as any place in Pakistan and its hardly 2 hours flight from Karachi. Comparitively we are getting much bigger crowd in Dubai than in Karachi the rest of the nation follows it on T.V. So why take such a big risk and ruien whatever is left of our image in the world. Once we get our house in order we can invite the world and can give them a real Paki Hospitality.

  • Abdullah on June 23, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    Pakistan deserved the victory very well by beating the most in form teams in the tournament(S.A. & S.L.)!!! i congragulate the pakistani team and especially younis khan to lead pakistan to victory(a team who barely anyone wudv had in mind wud turn out to be the champs of the T20 worldcup)!!

  • Mir on June 23, 2009, 8:18 GMT

    Congrat to PAKISTAN Team. All the best in the future

  • Sami on June 23, 2009, 7:07 GMT

    Congrats to Mr. Younus Khan for his briliant captaincy and executing all the tricks very well in the field. Younus was right that the teams should come for a tour. These teams will goto india, bangladesh, sri lanka etc. I agree that the security situation is not good in pakistan but these are not that bad as these teams understand or translate the situation of pk. In every country you will find miscreants who always try to create problems. People of cricket might remember the tour to india where pakistani players get the threats from extremist parties in india and wasl not allowed to move freely in the country. The IPL will bring damage to the indian cricket by which they will lose their patience during thier play. Now Mr. L.modi have to think of the T20 champions and I also urge Younus troops not to interact in IPL. In the end, I am hoping that all of the cricket playing nations provide their postive response towards the cricket of pakistan.

  • Dulith on June 23, 2009, 2:54 GMT

    However much we congratulate Pakistan on this achievement we cant agree to their request to send players there.They sound as if other countries are being unfair to them by not touring that country.This attitude is wrong.

  • Faysal on June 22, 2009, 22:05 GMT

    Towile get a life man....Congrats to the Pak team! People of India and Pakistan shouldnt let misunderstandings get the better of them. Only a handful of people are making rifts dnt i repear dnt let it happen to u learn from history!!!

  • Sudarshan on June 22, 2009, 18:10 GMT

    Very Very Happy for Pakistan. I think as a country they are under tremendous duress and sadness currently. Atleast this victory would put a smile on many Pakistani face. The cricket in Pak too definitely needed a shot in the arm like this.

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