Younis welcomed as new captain

Former Pakistan Test cricketers have welcomed the decision of change the captaincy and appoint Younis Khan as skipper.

updated: January 28, 2009 10:24 IST
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Former Pakistan Test cricketers have welcomed the decision of change the captaincy and appoint Younis Khan as skipper after Sri Lanka crushed Pakistan by a record margin of 234 runs in a limited-overs international last week.

"Nobody in Pakistan can accept this humiliating result and the change in the captaincy was very much expected," former captain Zaheer Abbas told AP.

The Pakistan Cricket Board removed Shoaib Malik from the captaincy in the wake of series-losing finale at Lahore and named Khan as the new skipper for an indefinite period - for both Tests and limited-overs games.

Pakistan crashed to 75 all out at the Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday - its fourth lowest ever total in ODI _ after Sri Lanka scored 309-5.

"The team's performance was not quite up to the mark - especially in the last match - and the cricket board has made the right decision by giving the reigns of captaincy to Younis Khan," Abbas said.

"He (Khan) is the senior most player in the side and hopefully he will take along the team as a unit."

Malik captained in 36 limited-overs games after being appointed at a time of crisis in Pakistan cricket following the humiliating first-round exit from the 2007 World Cup and the death of coach Bob Woolmer. He won 24 and lost 12.

However, most of his victories came against lowly ranked Zimbabwe and Bangladesh as Pakistan faltered against good teams like South Africa, India and now against Sri Lanka.

Pakistan, which did not play a single Test match last year due to security concerns of foreign teams, is scheduled to play two Tests against Sri Lanka next month and Abbas said he would like to see Malik retained as a player.

"We don't have many choices and Malik should be included in the team as an all-rounder," he said.

Former Pakistan paceman Sarfraz Nawaz raised question marks on Malik's fitness, but also felt he should be kept in the squad.

"He (Malik) didn't play two Test matches in India (in 2007) as he got unfit after Pakistan lost the first Test match," Nawaz said.

"But if he is fully fit he should be the part of Test side."

Nawaz believed the previous PCB administration under chairman Nasim Ashraf erred in appointing Malik as captain two years ago.

"It was a wrong decision because there were big question marks on his fitness at that time too," Nawaz said.

"He couldn't field the right combination against strong opponents which led Pakistan to defeats."

The PCB had recently given the team management - comprising captain, coach and manager - the authority to select the final playing XI from the 15-member squad.

"It's a wrong practice, selection committee should have its say in selecting the final playing eleven so that everybody should be accountable," Nawaz said.

Khan, who served as vice-captain under Inzamam-ul-Haq, has accepted the position, having previously refused to take the captaincy in 2007 when Malik was named.

"I don't have a magic wand to turn things around," Khan was quoted in a leading urdu language newspaper Daily Jang.

"If all the players give 100 per cent Pakistan could be number one team in the world."

Khan led Pakistan in the 2006 Champions Trophy in India when Inzamam was suspended. Pakistan did not progress beyond the first round after ace fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar were sent back home on the eve of the tournament after both tested positive for a banned substance nandronline in the PCB's internal dope testing.

"Captaincy is always tough, I don't think you can be in a tougher situation than the 2006 Champions Trophy when we lost Shoaib and Asif a day before the tournament," Younis said.