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Team comes before captaincy, says Pakistan's Younis
by AFP


Ground:Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Scorecard:Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Player:Younis Khan
Event:ICC Champions Trophy 2006/07

DateLine: 18th October 2006

 

Stand-in Pakistan skipper Younis Khan says he is not interested in captaincy, but only wants to see his team keep defying odds in the ongoing Champions Trophy.

 

"I am not interested in captaincy," Younis said after leading his doping-hit side to a remarkable win over in-form Sri Lanka in their opening Group B match here on Tuesday night.

 

This was Sri Lanka's first defeat after 10 successive victories in one-day internationals.

 

"(Long-term) captaincy is not on my mind. I would like him (Inzamam-ul-Haq) to come back and handle it. We missed Inzamam a lot and spoke a lot about him, about his captaincy and professionalism," said Younis.

 

Younis replaced Inzamam, who was banned for four one-dayers for bringing the game into disrepute over his side forfeiting the Oval Test against England in August while protesting a penalty for alleged ball-tampering.

 

But Younis stepped down, apparently over the team's selection for the Champions Trophy, saying he was not a "dummy" captain. He was reinstated on the day of his team's departure for India.

 

Pakistan had not bowled a single ball in the tournament when the news came that his key fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif failed dope tests and were returning home.

 

"We wanted to forget pressure," said Younis.

 

"One day before the game we got a jolt, but we only wanted to play good cricket. Winning or losing was not important, all I wanted my boys to do was to play good cricket. And we did."

 

Pakistan hardly missed Akhtar and Asif as all-rounder Abdul Razzaq gave a superb exhibition of seam bowling to restrict Sri Lanka to 253 on a good batting track. He finished with 4-50.

 

Razzaq himself completed the job under lights, smashing a rapidfire 24-ball 38 not out to steer his team home with 11 deliveries to spare.

 

"We've had a lot of fun over the last week," said Younis.

 

"We played hard, practised hard and had some competitive games among ourselves. What I could not do as a youngster, I wanted my boys to do. I encouraged them to see movies, to have fun.

 

"There was definitely a bit of pressure. But I don't normally put myself under pressure. If we had lost, people would have got a chance to say things against us but the boys stood together."

 

Younis was all praise for Razzaq, who was named man of the match.

 

"I knew seniors in the team like me, Mohammad Yousuf and Razzaq, needed to take charge. Razzaq is very good with the old ball and he showed that again," said the Pakistani captain.

 

"The turning point of the game was the way we came back after the first 10 overs and the way Razzaq bowled with the old ball. It is difficult to bowl with it, but our bowlers did very well."

 

Sri Lanka looked set to post a sizeable total after winning the toss when they raced to 108-1 in less than 18 overs, but they lost their way in the middle and final overs.

 

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene conceded a late Pakistani flourish sealed his team's fate.

 

"It was the boundaries which won the game. Razzaq batted really well in a crunch situation," said Jayawardene, who became the fifth Sri Lankan to complete 6,000 one-day runs during the match.

 

Pakistan scored their last 54 runs off just 36 balls, thanks to a rollicking stand between between Razzaq and Shoaib Malik (46 not out).

 

"We did not play our A-class game as we also dropped a couple of catches. It is a tough group, but we still have a chance," said Jayawardene.

 

Sri Lanka play their next match against New Zealand at Mumbai on October 20 while Pakistan clash with the Kiwis at Mohali on October 25. South Africa are other team in the group.

 

World champions Australia, England, India and the West Indies are in Group A. The top two sides from each group advance to the semi-finals.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)



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