PCB at it again – this time it’s Younus Khan

Published: September 25, 2014

If the basic criterion for the team selection was fitness, then it should not be forgotten that during the recently concluded training sessions, Younus was seen amongst the fittest players in the team. PHOTO: REUTERS

If the basic criterion for the team selection was fitness, then it should not be forgotten that during the recently concluded training sessions, Younus was seen amongst the fittest players in the team. PHOTO: REUTERS If the basic criterion for the team selection was fitness, then it should not be forgotten that during the recently concluded training sessions, Younus was seen amongst the fittest players in the team. PHOTO: REUTERS

Pakistan has announced its squad for the ODI and T20 series against Australia and it has disappointed a lot of cricket fans. Though there are many questionable selections, the most surprising one is Younus Khan being dropped from the ODI team.

While announcing the decision, chief selector Moin Khan said,

“Our experiment with Younus in the ODI series in Sri Lanka backfired. Now all have unanimously decided to look ahead to our future with youngsters. His services for Pakistan are commendable but now we have to take a step forward and he is also out of contention for the 2015 World Cup.”

It is true that Younus didn’t perform well in the only ODI match he played against Sri Lanka and was out on just three runs. However, it should also be mentioned here that the only ODI match Pakistan did win in this series was the one in which Younus played. He had to leave the tour because of the illness of his nephew and Pakistan lost the other two ODI matches. One can’t help but imagine how the decision of including him in the team backfired when the only match he played in was the only one Pakistan won.

Our selectors want to take “a step forward” when the World Cup is just four months away and the Pakistani team is just a couple of series away from the mega event. How is this supposed to be a prudent decision? If they really were so focused on the future, then why didn’t they start training younger players beforehand?

Most of the other teams have their squads decided and finalised by now and, with almost no time left in the World Cup, they are banking on experience.

Sri Lanka is the perfect example of this; Mahela Jayawardene was not in form for almost about three months but he was given an extended chance to get back into the game. Why? Because he is one of the most experienced players in the Sri Lankan team. On the other hand, Younus Khan came back to the team after a gap of almost two years and was dropped after just one match – if you don’t call this injustice then I don’t know what is.

Umar Amin has been included in the team in place of Younus. Moin Khan believes that his fitness and current form are good enough for the team to use him. Just for the record, this “fitness” that Moin talks about was gauged in the current domestic competitions, which were all T20 tournaments by the way, and where Amin played only six matches scoring 139 runs.

How can Moin decide his fitness level in just six matches? Amin is an energetic player, no doubt about that. However, PCB selectors need to stop playing with words and making a fool out of the public. Cricket fans know a good player when they see one, and Younus is a very good player.

If the basic criterion for the team selection was fitness, then it should not be forgotten that during the recently concluded training sessions, Younus was seen amongst the fittest players in the team.

If current form was the criterion for selection, then one should keep in mind that in the last five series that Younus has played, he has scored four centuries (including a century against South Africa on their home ground). Also, just a month ago, he played a marathon inning of 177 runs against Sri Lanka.

I think this is proof enough that he is very much in form.

Why, then, was he not selected?

Yes, it is needed to look forward and build a team for the future but teams are built keeping the World Cup in mind. You send your strongest and most experienced team in the tournament and then, after the team has shown its charm in the competition, you groom those players even further. You don’t send youngsters who are inexperienced to perform in perhaps the biggest cricketing tournament ever. The result will be catastrophic. Not only will they not be able to perform well, any future chances of them becoming part of the team will be snatched away from them under the pretence that they didn’t perform well at the World Cup.

Australia is not an easy place for batsmen; there is pace and bounce in their pitches that only experienced players can handle and Younus, being a strong backfoot player, would have been very beneficial for the team on such a pitch.

On a side note, it is really interesting to see how almost all senior players have been sidelined one by one by the management. Abdul Razzaq, who in his days was a match winner, was let go because he spoke against Muhammad Hafeez; Taufeeq Umar, who had performed so well for over a year, was never recalled after he got injured; Shahid Afridi is dropped on and off and usually comes back because of public (and sometimes political) pressures, and Younus was degraded to B category for two years before the management got him back in the A category after getting pressurised by the public.

It won’t be a surprise if Pakistan loses the series against Australia and selectors call Younus back in the team as a last resort. It is such a shame that a senior player like Younus, one whom we should be utilising for the benefit of Pakistan cricket, is being sidelined when we desperately need him for the 2015 ICC World Cup.

Raafay Awan

Raafay Awan

The author is Pakistani living in Australia. He is an entrepreneur, mechanical engineer, traveler, blogger and above all, a cricket enthusiast . He blogs at raafay-awan.blogspot.com and tweets @raafayawan (twitter.com/raafayawan).

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Umair

    wht nonsense blog? do u know the career average of Younis in ODI? just 31 (v mediocore)…in last 4 years he has scored at an average of only 22 with not even a century in ODIs…In the last series he was selected just due to media pressure and chairman intervention!! Selectors n coach were not happy with his selection. When you have got good replacement in shape of Fawad Alam n Sohaib Maqsood who not r more consistent but hv a better strike rate what is the point of selecting aging younis khan? Skill n ability is more important than Experience!!!!Recommend

  • http://www.ak-cars.co.uk AK Cars

    Sorry but Younis has never been a good ODI player ever, and no way could we afford him and TUK TUK in the same team at the same time. Good riddanceRecommend

  • amir

    it’s a very sensible decision keeping future in mind…look at his average ..for the person who has played more than 250 games with an average of meager 31 and strike rate of 71..should not find place..see we’ve players like sohaib maqsood coming who can really change the game without taking 60+ balls to settle down.Recommend

  • Hamza Shah

    It is NOT true as he hasn’t performed at all in the last 8 years, not just the last ODI.
    Arguing in favor of Yk’s selection in the ODI team and backing it up with stats from Test matches? #logicfail
    Please remind us when did Younis last play a match winning knock in an ODI? When did he last score an ODI century? What is his ODI average? A team does not only win because it has “senior” players, those “seniors” have to perform… Unfortunately, YK has not performed since quite a while and if anything, this bold decision by the PCB has to be applauded. Abdul Razzaq?! How about we recall Wasim Akram next time Junaid Khan has a bad game? Recommend

  • Shafi

    Only in Pakistan player like Younis Khan afford can play ODI. If he has any dignity which I highly doubt he should retire after 2011 world cup. Younis (13 of 32) and Misbah were culprits to let us loose the world cup.Recommend

  • Raafay Awan

    I knew some people will want starts and some people may argue that Younis Khan hasn’t performed well in the ODI matches over a long period of time and ask to look at the stats on how slow he has batted or what a low average he has or how less runs he has scored. Before being dropped against South Africa last year Younis Khan had scored 969 runs (4th highest by any Pakistani) at an average of 31.25 (5th highest by any Pakistani) and a strike rate of 80.25 (3rd best by any Pakistani) in the previous two years. (2011-2012) via Cricinfo Statsguru. – RaafayRecommend

  • Fighter Man

    Mr. Writer Did you spend sometime on His ODI numbners before writing this blog ?Recommend

  • Farzan

    Since 2012, ‪#‎YounisKhan‬ has scored just 360 runs in 19 innings with an average of 20.0 where his highest score was 70* against Afghanistan!

    on what criteria is he being furious and expects to be selected? we have much more consistent middle order ODI batsman like Sohaib Maqsood and Fawad Alam!Recommend

  • Sohaib

    He is better than his replacements Asad Shafiq and Umar Amin. Way betterRecommend

  • sohaib

    In the last two years, younis khan has played only 9 ODI’s. 9 are not enough to evaluate someones whole career. he is better than his replacement asad shafiq and umar amin.Recommend

  • sohaib

    HE HASNT PERFORMED AT ALL IN THE LAST 8 YEARS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME. check his stats for the last 8 years in odi only. he scored 5 hundreds. here i justify younis khans selection http://alwayssmilingmore.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-incompetency-of-pcb.htmlRecommend