Younis criticized for defeat against NZ

November 10, 2009

Younis Khan should have sacrificed his spot and allowed Shahid Afridi to lead Pakistan against New Zealand, outspoken former test paceman Sarfraz Nawaz said Tuesday in the wake of a limited-overs series loss to the Kiwis. "He should have dropped himself from the last game and allowed Shahid Afridi to captain the side," Nawaz told The Associated Press. Pakistan lost the series decider by seven runs in Abu Dhabi on Monday despite young Mohammad Aamer scoring 73 runs - the highest ever individual score by a No. 10 batsman in the history of one-day internationals. The Pakistani batsmen had earlier struggled to chase down a modest target of 212 runs on a placid wicket at Sheikh Zayed Stadium. They were reeling at 101-9 before Aamer and Saeed Ajmal brought them within sight of a sensational victory with a 103-run last wicket stand. Younis, whose resignation letter was rejected by the Pakistan Cricket Board last month, was out of form with the bat in all three matches against New Zealand, managing 0, 19 and 3. But Pakistan preferred to rotate its three other inform batsmen Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal and Mohammad Yousuf in the series. "Other batsmen lose heart when they see their captain not scoring and it was unbelievable that those who were performing with the bat were given undue rest," Nawaz said. "No matter how big a team is, if you start resting your key players there's no way you can win matches. "If Younis was sincere with Pakistan team, he should have not played in the last match and given Yousuf an opportunity." Former chief selector Abdul Qadir said it was hard to believe the way Pakistan batsmen threw their wickets on a pitch where young Aamer scored a magnificent half century. "If Aamer can score, what had gone wrong with our batsmen?" Qadir asked. Nawaz demanded an overhaul in the Pakistan Cricket Board setup and also blamed the 71-year-old PCB chief Ijaz Butt for the team's performance. "He has gone too old to handle the matters of PCB and I think now it's high time that the cricket board should be looked after by the ministry of sports," Nawaz said. The cricket board is an autonomous body in Pakistan, but has president Asif Ali Zardari as its patron. Afridi, the Pakistan Twenty20 captain, said before the one-day series against New Zealand that some players had experienced problems with Younis during the Champions Trophy and he had informed both Butt and the captain about it. Another former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said that Younis had been given too much control, which is damaging the Pakistan team. "I fail to understand who has given him this license to kill as he first rested Malik and then Yousuf from the all important last match," Inzamam told the daily Jang newspaper. "If the captain does not raise the confidence of senior players how can we expect improved performance from the team?" The newspaper praised young Aamer with a headline "Little star Amer made the superstars bow their heads in shame." "The body language of (Pakistan) players was as if they were in a lost battlefield," Jang reported. PCB officials will have to front both houses of Parliament to explain the recent loss to New Zealand. A standing committee on sports in Pakistan's Lower House had summoned both Butt and Younis last month after the Champions Trophy in South Africa and cleared the Pakistan team over false match-fixing allegations. Younis tried to quit as captain but was reinstated by the PCB until the 2011 World Cup as long as he stays fit and the selectors picked him in the squad. The Lower House committee has called Butt to a Nov. 23 meeting to discuss Pakistan's latest setback. "I have no personal grudge against Younis, but my only objection is the way he performs," chairman of the committee Jamshed Dasti said. Another sports committee in the Upper House has asked PCB officials to appear in the first week of December. "We will ask them the reasons of poor performances," committee chairman Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi said.