ICL: Indian Cricket League


Selectors keen to include Younis in team for Scotland tour

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Former vice-captain Younis Khan may return to the Pakistan team during this summer’s brief tour of Scotland after missing last month’s One-day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi because of county commitments.

‘The News’ learnt here from reliable sources on Friday that Pakistani cricket officials would today (Saturday) contact Younis, who is currently in England, to check whether he is available for next month’s two games in Glasgow against old rivals India and hosts Scotland. Younis, these days, is playing county cricket for Yorkshire.

Sources said that selectors are convinced that Younis could boost Pakistan’s middle-order for the two one-dayers considering his vast experience and also because of the fact that he is currently playing in England and is fully used to the conditions there, which can be quite unfriendly for batsmen from the sub-continent.

Pakistan are to play an ODI against India on July 1 and another game against Scotland two days later. It is not an important tour but national officials want to select the best possible team in a bid to rebuild their players’ confidence shaken rudely by the World Cup disaster in March.

Sources said that the selectors have decided to include Younis in their plans because of the facts that he is in great form and is also fully fit.

Another reason behind the move is to put an end to speculations over Younis’s future with the Pakistan team which has been in question since the Mardan-born player’s decision to turn down an offer made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to take over the national team’s captain in the aftermath of Pakistan’s disastrous World Cup campaign in March.

Younis, 29, rejected the offer saying that he was unable to cope with the sort of stress Pakistani captains have to handle. He instead signed up with Yorkshire for a county stint and made himself unavailable for a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi. Under new captain Shoaib Malik, Pakistan won the series 2-1.

There were reports that top PCB officials were unhappy over his decision to reject the captaincy offer and making himself unavailable for the series in Abu Dhabi.

However, sources said that contrary to general impression, Younis has not fallen out of favour with the PCB top brass. According to the sources, the PCB officials have told the national selectors that they have no objections against Younis’s selection and the player can be picked for the Pakistan team whenever he is available.

The national selectors are convinced that Younis figures prominently in Pakistan’s future plans as one of the team’s most experienced and reliable batsmen.

Younis, who has scored 4291 runs from 35 Tests and just needs 12 runs to reach the 4000 mark in one-dayers, was not included in a fitness camp getting underway in Abbottabad next week on his own request.

“The selectors believe that Younis doesn’t need to prove his fitness because of his county display in recent weeks,” said the source.

Younis is also set to be awarded the top category in the new central contracts being finalised by the PCB.

Sources said that Younis would be among the few players who would get a Grade A contract — the highest pay slab that would be decided on the basis of performance, fitness and seniority.

PCB officials are in the process of finalising a new pay structure and plan to submit it to the Board’s ad-hoc committee for approval on June 16.

The PCB has asked the national selection committee to recommend 30 players for the central contracts which would be awarded to 20 players from July 1.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, June 9th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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