Younis says Pakistan ready for Sri Lanka challenge
by AFP

Player:Younis Khan
Event:Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

DateLine: 27th June 2009


Pakistan captain Younis Khan said Friday his team are ready to rise to the challenge of the Test series against Sri Lanka but admitted they were under pressure following their World Twenty20 victory.


Younis said his team should carry forward inspiration of their success in England but knuckle down for a possible resurgent Sri Lankan team whom they defeated in the final at Lord's last week to clinch the T20 title.


"The Sri Lanka tour will be a big challenge," said Younis ahead of the team's departure on Saturday.


"The celebrations become a matter of the past when you embark on the next tour, so I hope players get in the different mood soon."


Pakistan will play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match on their tour. The first Test starts at Galle on July 4.


Pakistan beat Sri Lanka on both previous tours but Younis said their new-look rivals will put up their best efforts.


"In Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka have a wise captain and their team is balanced with quality players, so we will have to be at our best to get positive results," said Younis, who will be on his first Test tour as captain.


"It will be double pressure on us because our people want wins in every match and after the T20 success they want more success and that can put pressure on us, but we are ready for it."


Younis believes Test cricket is the purest form of the game and both teams are adept at changing their skills in the various forms of the game.


"Twenty20 cricket was different and now Test cricket is different, it seriously tests the abilities of a player whereas I don't think the abilities of a player can be gauged in a T20 match," said Younis.


Pakistan will be boosted by the return of ace batsman Mohammad Yousuf and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq.


Both Yousuf and Razzaq were included in the 15-man squad after they broke ties with the unrecognised Indian Cricket League earlier this month.


They joined the rebel league in 2007 and as a result had been banned from all cricket in Pakistan.


"Yousuf is a quality player and gives strength to our middle-order batting," said Younis of the 34-year-old Yousuf who scored a world record of 1,788 runs in 2006 -- the most in Test cricket in a calendar year.


Razzaq was part of the Pakistan team which won the Twenty20 title, replacing an injured Yasir Arafat after the first round.


Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria also returns to the team after being left out of the T20 squad.


"Kaneria gives us variety and alongwith Saeed Ajmal supplements our spin bowling, so it will be a keen contest between two balanced teams and I hope it will be a great series," said Younis.


The remaining two Tests will be played in Colombo, followed by the one-day matches and the T20 game.

(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)


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