Wednesday, May 26, 2010

'I was banned without being given a chance' - Younis

Younis Khan, the former Pakistan captain who has been banned indefinitely by the PCB, denied having created any problems within the team and hoped to make a comeback to the national fold.

"I was banned without being given a chance to clarify my position and I want justice because I want to play for my country again," Younis told the parliamentary committee investigating Pakistan's performance during the disastrous tour of Australia.

Younis stepped down as captain and player ahead of the tour to New Zealand, which preceded the Australia series, over differences with his team-mates. He missed the Australia Tests, and did not make an impact during the ODIs under Mohammad Yousuf's leadership. Following the tour, PCB came down strongly on seven national players, including Younis who was banned for creating infighting within the team - an accusation he staunchly refused.

"I pointed out problems within the team to the PCB and they banned me. [Shoaib] Malik thought that I contrived to replace him as captain, which wasn't true. My career has been derailed because of this ban and although I am getting offers to play in England and South Africa, I want to play for my country, for my people," Younis said.

Six of the seven punished cricketers, barring Yousuf who has since announced his retirement, have lodged formal appeals against PCB's punishment. The appeals are now being evaluated by an independent arbitrator, Irfan Qadir, a retired high court judge. Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, assured the committee that the PCB would review their sanctions based on the findings of the arbitrator.

Butt also came out in support of Younis, appreciating his commitment to the national side. "Younis is a patriot and has always played for the country and I am sad that his career was derailed by same baseless allegations of match-fixing by a parliamentary committee member," Butt said. Younis' appeal is set to be heard on May 29. ( Source )

Afridi named Pakistan skipper for Asia Cup, England

LAHORE: Dashing all-rounder Shahid Afridi was on Tuesday named Pakistan skipper for next month's Asia Cup and the following tour of England, uniting the team under one captain for all three formats of the game.

The 30-year-old Afridi, who led Pakistan to a semi-final finish in the World Twenty20 this month, was seen as the natural choice for all three forms of the game and -- more importantly -- someone who can unify the players.

"Afridi will lead Pakistan in one-day and Test cricket and is our best choice," said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ejaz Butt.

He becomes the latest in a line of Pakistan Test captains since Shoaib Malik took over from retired Inzamam-ul-Haq in 2007, followed by Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf.

"It is a great challenge to lead the team in all forms of the game," said Afridi, made Twenty20 skipper after Younis retired from the shortest form of the game following the team's World T20 title win last year.

"I will try to do my best and take all the players as a unit and build towards winning the World Cup," said Afridi, referring to the 50-over tournament to be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh between February and April next year.

Pakistan suffered a leadership crisis after several players fell out with Younis, who was forced to relinquish the captaincy and pull out of the team's tour of New Zealand in November.

Yousuf replaced Younis for New Zealand and the following tour of Australia, where the team lost all three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20, resulting in Yousuf not being retained.

Following the tour, the PCB banned Yousuf and Younis indefinitely "over infighting in the team over captaincy", while Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan were banned for one year each and heavily fined.

Afridi and the Akmal brothers -- Kamran and Umar -- were also fined heavily and the trio kept under a six-month probation over breaches of discipline during the Australia tour.

Except for Yousuf, who retired in protest at the ban, all six players have appealed. A one-man arbitrator is dealing with the appeals, with the PCB on Monday promising a review of the penalties soon.

Pakistan feature in the four-nation Asia Cup in Sri Lanka from June 15-24 before proceeding to a two-and-a-half-month tour of England, where they play two Twenty20 matches and two Tests against Australia.

They then play England in four Tests, five one-day and two Twenty20 matches in a tour which finishes late September.

The PCB later named a 35-man preliminary squad for both the tours, including banned Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik, subject to their clearance from the arbitrator. ( Source )

35 probables named for Asia cup, tour of England

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selection committee has announced here on Tuesday 35 probable players for the forthcoming Asia Cup and the tour of England.

Allrounder Shahid Afridi will lead the national team in all three formats of cricket whereas former captains Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik were conditionally included in the probables list. They will be selected only after the ban on them is lifted.

Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has also been named for the probable squad.

The names were announced by chief selector Mohsin Khan at a press conference along with chairman PCB Ijaz Butt and captain Shahid Afridi.

Other probable players are: Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Aamer, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Yasir Arafat, Abdul Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Faisal Iqbal, Fawad Alam, Hasan Raza, Azeem Ghumman, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan, Yasir Hameed, Shah Zeb Hasan,
Zulfiqar, Zulqarnain Haider, Khurram Manzoor, Asad Shafiq, Tanveer Ahmed, Aizaz Cheema, Aamir Sajjad, Azhar Ali, Umar Amin.

Chairman PCB said that the 17 players for the tour of England would also be selected from these players and the final team would be announced next month.

Replying to a question, he told that Mohammad Yousuf has not been considered as he retired and he may be included in the team if he comes out of his retirement.

Ijaz Butt said that the camp would probably be held in Karachi.

Shahid Afridi said that the tour of England is a difficult task and there should not be much expectations.

To a question, he replied that he has pressure but a complete player can be made after bearing pressure.

Mohsin Khan said that all the players would go through a fitness test before the final selection. ( Source )