Former Pakistan batting coach Younis Khan has said that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) “should not embarrass themselves” with another squad change, as calls grow for the middle-order to be strengthened after a disappointing Asia Cup loss, and defeat most recently to England by a huge margin.
“There is always this hue and cry that the team needs changing. We tried this last time. Now, I think they should not embarrass themselves, all of a sudden changing the team. Our coaches, captain and PCB have to utilise these very players. These are the only players you have, there won’t be any coming in from anywhere else, and this is the best bunch,” he said, while speaking to the media in Karachi.
The former captain said that what is needed are “some sacrifices”.
“When Javed [Miandad] left cricket, we would think oh no, Javed bhai has left, and later Inzamam also left, and we would think what will happen now, but then there were players who came in, such as us, who stabilised things.
“So these are the only players we have and will have to utilise,” he said, adding: “We may need to move the numbers around a bit.”
“Cricket is a game of sacrifices […] when you play for the national team, there is no such thing that I will only play in this style. You have to change your style for your country, for the millions of people watching you, and when this is your thnking, I don’t think there is anything stopping Pakistan,” he said.
To a question on whether Babar Azam or Mohammad Rizwan should come down the batting order, Younis said it is “a useless debate as this is something that will not likely happen”.
He said there are “some good people in the PCB” who really need to put their mind to it and come up with some strategy to solve the squad’s batting issues.
Speaking of matches with India, he said a good thing that has happened is that the pressure has eased up with regular bouts.
“And if I speak of the Indian players and the Pakistani players, there is much friendship that can be seen right now, which is a good thing. That atmosphere of tension is no longer there. Now what should happen is that our cricketing ties should revive and we should play regularly so that we can put to rest all this negative talk that usually accompanies Pakistan-India matches,” he said.
Younis said if we continue the trajectory we are on, “we will not be able to bear what will happen in Australia”, in the T20 World Cup.
“We should have such planning, develop such a strategy that Pakistan at least reach the semi finals.
“Once you reach the semi final and final, then it is a game of luck. With one good bowler spell or a batter spell, the game is in your hands,” he said.
Speaking of how he rates the current squad vis-a-vis Australia’s playing conditions, and since Pakistan last played there three years ago, the former coach said that a lot of players have been playing in the Big Bash games and will likely continue to do so, so it should not be such a problem for the players to play in the conditions there.
He went on to say that this is especially true given that it will be a T20 tournament. Had it been Test or ODI cricket, it would have given one pause.
Younis said that Australian pitches are favourable for T20 and that our players did well in the Big Bash series.
“The team has to prepped in a way it is ready for victory. It is not necessary Babar Azam performs each time or Mohammad Rizwan does,” the former batter said. He said it is important, instead, to have a match winning squad.
Younis said the team “cannot have the same kind of planning all the time, regardless of the opponent”.