Younis Khan quits UBL after franchise pulls out of domestic circuit

Younis Khan shapes up to play through the leg side AFP

Former Pakistan batsman Younis Khan has never been afraid to say what he feels, with that trait showing so sign of abating even as he stands retired from international cricket. Angered - and seemingly hurt - by his domestic franchise United Bank Limited's decision to disband the cricket team, Younis announced his resignation as both captain and player, and that 11 July 2018 was "his last day".

Younis, who signed for UBL in 2015, had continued to play for the side since retiring from international cricket. However, he has struggled for form this season, crossing double figures just twice in six innings. Even so, he was one of the most vocal opponents of shutting down the side. His letter, and notice of resignation today, appeared to be an official indication that that battle had been lost.

Younis posted the letter on Twitter, saying that he had met UBL's president Sima Khalil, and was unable to change her mind on the decision. He apologised, saying he had "tried my best, but I let you all down".

UBL's decision to do away with their cricket team had been in the offing for a few weeks. Financial considerations are believed to have been the main reason, with the bank re-evaluating the extent to which they were willing to continue investing in sports. This also means UBL will lose their representation at the PCB's governing body.

It won't be the first time the organisation has cut its ties with cricket. They left domestic cricket in 1997, and were absent for 14 years until their comeback in 2011. Upon return, UBL re-established itself as one of the most prolific departments on Pakistan's domestic circuit, finishing runners-up in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy in 2015-16. Earlier this year, they had romped to the Departmental One Day Cup title, winning all nine matches they played.

Since being established in 1975, UBL have won the QEA four times, the Pentangular Cup three times, and the Patron's Trophy once, in addition to several limited-overs titles. UBL have invested significantly in its cricket department, contributing around PKR 50,000,000 (USD 432,000 approx) each season towards the domestic franchise across all formats in the country. They were also the title sponsors of the T20I World XI series in Lahore last September.

Addressing the fans, Younis said: "I will always be grateful to you and the entire UBL team. Many thanks for your understanding."