Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yousuf calls Younus, asks him to join team

Pakistan skipper Mohammad Yousuf said that he called up senior batsman Younus Khan and asked him to join the team.

Yousuf has asked Younus to join the national team as soon as possible for the one-day series in Australia.

"Yes, I did call up Younus because we have always been good friends and we have played a lot of cricket together," Yousuf said on Wednesday.

"I would definitely like to see Younus back in the team as soon as possible because he is a very experienced batsman and the team is missing him," he added.

Yousuf replaced Younus as captain for the tour to New Zealand in November after the latter pulled out of the series pleading to the cricket board that he wanted to take a break from international cricket.

Younus who returned to competitive cricket this week by playing in the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in Karachi has said he is available to play for Pakistan whenever the players and selectors need him.

Yousuf also made it clear that it was never easy to replace someone of the calibre and experience of Younus.

"He has been to Australia before and scored runs there so I want to see him in the team," Yousuf added.

Chief selector Iqbal Qasim made it clear that he didn't see chances of Younus going to Australia for the Test series.

"But he can definitely make the one-day squad. We have no doubt about his class and fitness but we need to give him some time to get over his poor form and start scoring runs again," Qasim added.

Younus failed in both innings of the Quaid Trophy final but picked up four wickets with his medium pace swing bowling.

After Younus returned home from Abu Dhabi without going to New Zealand there was plenty of speculation that he decided to sit out because of problems with some players in the team who were not happy with his captaincy.

But Yousuf who is also captain for the Test and one-day series in Australia made it clear that he had never had any communication problems with Younus.

"We always got along well together and that is why I called him up to inquire about his plans. I am happy that he was very positive about resuming playing international cricket again," Yousuf stated.

Sources in the cricket board said that the chief selector had conveyed to the board that the selection committee wanted to see Younus play one or two more domestic matches before sending him to Australia.

Younus will play for Habib Bank in the Pentangular Cup starting from January 1 in Karachi and Pakistan does not play its one-day series against Australia before end of January.

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