Millennium Post

Younis for world cup

Firstly the most obvious reason, match-winning contributions to a historic Test series victory over Australia can’t. Form is a big factor for any batsman. Time spent in the middle equates to confidence and clarity of thought. Younis batted with assurance and occasional fluency, twice putting Pakistan in a strong position. His six off Nathan Lyon to reach his first century in the first Test showed he can still attack when he needs to. His Test form, shown against a strong Australia attack, puts him in good stead. With renewed self-assurance and records behind him, Younis could use determination and redemption as motivation to rediscover his ODI abilities.

‘Our experiment with Younis in the ODI series in Sri Lanka backfired. Now all have unanimously decided to look ahead to our future with youngsters,’ – This was PCB chief selector Moin Khan’s explanation for dropping Younis Khan, according to ESPN-cricinfo. In Pakistan’s subsequent 3-0 defeat against Australia in ODI series played in the UAE last month, the players’ shortcomings were there for all to see. Not one Pakistani middle-order batsman made more than 50 in the series. As a consequence, Pakistan fell short of competitive totals in all three games. Umar Amin, replacing Younis in the Pakistan middle order, averages just 19 over 15 innings and is yet to show confidence on the biggest stage. While backing youngsters may be an admirable approach, it is somewhat naive. A mix of youth and experience is what Pakistan need in the long-term and Younis could no doubt provide some middle-order stability.

Thirdly, Younis’ performance against Australia and New Zealand took his century count to 28, breaking Inzamam-ul-Haq’s record. He is now 16th on the all-time list of century-makers, joint with Sir Garfield Sobers. He has played a mammoth 254 ODIs for Pakistan, scoring six centuries. This experience should not be disregarded. In the third ODI against Australia, without Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s batting lacked an authority figure. Younis could bring the much-needed element of steady assurance and know-how to the Pakistan batting line-up.

Moreover, Younis spoke in May about his desired role within the Pakistan squad: ‘I want to play the 2015 or 2019 World Cup, my desire is to play as much cricket and keep up my role-model performance,’ reported per ESPN-cricinfo. With exciting young players currently emerging, there must be things they can learn from one of the country’s most prolific batsmen. Twenty-two-year-old opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad recently described Younis as ‘a true gentleman and a perfect example to us youngsters.’ Shehzad is a young and talented batsman who has already shown flashes of brilliance. His admiration of Younis speaks volumes about the role he could play, if given the opportunity.

Younis just became the third Pakistani after Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq and the 28th batsman overall to score 8000 runs in Test cricket. The right hand top order batsman from Mardan reached this milestone during his 213-run knock on the second day of the second Test against Australia at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Javed Miandad scored 8832 runs at 52.57 with 23 hundreds and 43 fifties in 189 innings of 124 Test match between 1976 and 1993 while Inzamam-ul-Haq made 8830 runs at 49.60 with 25 hundreds and 46 fifties in 200 innings of 120 Test matches between 1992 and 2007. With that double hundred, Younis also became the second Pakistani after Javed Miandad to score six double hundreds and 13th batsman overall to hit five or more double centuries in Tests.

For the Pakistan team management to admit they were wrong and rectify a mistake would go a long way towards restoring confidence in their leadership. Pakistan are currently ranked sixth in the ICC ODI rankings. They must present a united front and field their strongest side if they are to have a chance of winning the World Cup. Recalling Younis would be a step in this direction.
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