Younis Khan’s abrupt decision to retire from ODI cricket left a ‘negative impact’ on the squad, Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis has revealed.
Waqar said he was still struggling to comprehend why the veteran middle-order batsman chose to say goodbye to ODIs after continuously expressing his desire to get selected in the side.
“If he wanted to make a comeback to the One-day team and prove to people that he can still play that format he should have just said it and asked for it and I guess the selectors would have given him the game time and opportunity in not only the series against England but prior to that,” said Waqar in an interview with cricket news website.
The 38-year-old Younis, on November 11, announced his retirement from the 50-over format, after being selected for the first one-day international against England, an outing which hardly proved to be the farewell he would have imagined.
A record breaker for Pakistan in Tests, Younis was a surprise inclusion in the ODI squad with chief selector Haroon Rasheed reportedly fighting his case.
The Mardan-born batsman was discarded from the one-day team after a poor tour of New Zealand and 2015 World Cup in April, where he managed just 77 runs in six matches.
The Pakistan coach revealed that he put complete faith in Younis ahead of the England series and promised the veteran full opportunity and time to prove his mettle as a useful limited overs batsman.
“I gave Younis full confidence once he was selected for the One-day team.
“I gave him the batting position that he wanted and I gave him the guarantee that he would play in all four of the fifty-over matches against England,” said Waqar.
“He wanted to prove a point and I guess he feels he has proved his point but I feel it wasn’t the right way to do it,” he added.
Younis has had a see-saw one-day career, having scored only two hundreds in the last seven years, a record that led head coach Waqar Younis and support staff to reportedly resist his selection.
Pakistan lost the ODI series against England 3-1, while they were whitewashed 3-0 in the T20s with the fast bowlers copping a fair bit of stick.
But Waqar is now looking to the future and he cannot help but look towards Bangladesh where pacemen Mohammad Amir has been repeatedly making a case for an international return.
‘Amir looks hungry’
Amir’s return to the national side after serving his five-year spot-fixing ban has divided the dressing room but the Pakistan coach feels the 23-year-old deserves a second chance.
”I’ve only seen a few clips of him bowling recently in the Bangladesh Premier League. He looked OK, but the most impressive thing was that he looked hungry for wickets and success,” said Waqar.
Amir, in his nine outings for BPL outfit Chittagong Vikings has hunted down 14 victims, including Pakistani stars Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq.
“I think Amir has served his sentence and has served his punishment and I honestly feel that he deserves a second chance,” said the Pakistan coach.
“I have given a thumbs up to the Pakistan Cricket Board and the selectors that if PCB want to pick Mohammad Amir then it’s fine with me and I have no issues with that,” he added.
The head coach hinted that the fiery pacer is not far away from donning the Pakistan colours again.
“He’s only 23 and some bowlers don’t peak until after this age so he has a lot of cricket ahead of him and plenty to offer his country,” said the 44-year-old.
Waqar also said that whenever Amir is brought back into the Pakistan squad, the board, the players and all relevant parties should ‘sit down and clear the air’ to avoid further controversy and ensuring positivity within the camp.
“It will be important that the PCB sits down with the players and explains to them that Amir has served his punishment and that he deserves another chance,” he said.
Junaid not forgotten
Junaid Khan, another talented left-arm fast bowler is also an important part of Waqar’s plans but the coach insists that he should wait for his turn to shine and that he has not been forgotten.
“He was part of the Pakistan Test squad against England so he’s not been totally forgotten about,” said Waqar.