Younis Khan's interview, which was aired on Geo last night, was being advertised as "a candid talk with Younis Khan" throughout the day.
And boy was he candid in his views!
Thank you Adeel (Life in Binary) for producing a transcript of the interview and emailing it to me.
On his retirement from T20 cricket
Younis went into a bit of philosophy here saying that he always looks into the mirror and thinks about what he wants. He said he has never been bothered about what people have to say; the fact that his critics thought he was not good enough for T20 cricket was not why he retired. He pointed out that he had decided about retiring before the World T20; particularly if Pakistan won and added that he was too old for the format.
When reminded he was only 31 (twice during the interview)
Younis laughed and said that 31 was only his official age on paper. He admitted he was only a year younger than Misbah (35) and that he was born in 1975.
See what I mean when I say he was candid!
How he lifted his team after the initial losses
Younis said that he made some statements in the media about T20 being fun and entertainment; he did that to ease the pressure of his players. He claimed he did not want to blame any player for the losses and put pressure on them, hence he put all the pressure on himself, because if the gun is fired it will be fired at the captain. He stressed that by making those statements he put himself in the line of fire.
I also felt this about his statements as the tournament progressed, and I did a couple of posts about that as well. It was a masterstroke as Saad Shafqat had pointed out. Though I do wonder what he would have said had Pakistan's campaign not turned around. I guess we will never know!
About his Captaincy
Younis first said that he is the kind of person who wants complete control of things around him; he then described his captaincy in two phases - 1) when he stood in for Rashif Latif, Waqar Younis, or Inzamam; and 2) when he became full time captain.
About the 1st phase he said that every captain had their own way of doing things; when he stood in for captains he did not want to adopt ways that were different to theirs. He reminded everyone that in those times the public always took notice of him and at times called for change; he suggested that is how the public reacts and that in another 2 years they would want a change even from Younis Khan.
How true! Us fickle Pakistani fans!
About the 2nd phase, he mentioned that everyone thought he was a non-serious captain who was always smiling and laughing. He claimed that was his way of relaxing his players, calming them down, and not putting any undue pressure on them. He also pointed out that once the team was in the Super 8s, it was serious business, his smile disappeared, he adopted a more serious demeanour, he played with complete concentration, and that everbody knew then who the real authority was.
I believe the perfect example of that was witnessed when Pakistan won their semi final against South Africa. The look on Younis Khan's face at that time clearly depicted what he has described above.
On getting closer to the players and distancing himself from the selectors
Younis did not deny this; he said that its the players who share everything with each other, live together, eat together, and play together. He added that the PCB administration and the selectors keep changing; its the players who remain the same, hence he had to make his loyalties clear and stick to the players he had faith in.
That he did. He wanted Shahzaib in, he got him. He wanted Khurram for the tests, he got him.
How he reacted to Abdul Qadir's statement
He admitted that he can't ignore statements like that and they do have an impact on the players and the team. He questioned why Qadir said something like that and said that his performance was his response to Qadir.
He added that Shoaib Malik was very disturbed by Qadir's statement and that Malik came up to him wondering why Qadir had accused him of playing politics. Younis said that he told Malik to ignore it and concentrate on performing in the middle. He also mentioned that after Qadir's statement he sat down with Misbah, Afridi, and Malik and told them that in order to shut people like Qadir up, they needed to gel together, play as a united team, and try and do their best.
Boy did they deliver!
On the claim that Intikhab Alam was not useful
Younis stressed that the captain should be the most powerful person in the team because he is the one who is in the line of fire; not any player, not the coach, not the support staff. He said that around the world the coaches and their support staff are considered helpers and not enforcers; and that is how it should be. He emphasized that the coach, manager, and assistants are there to help and serve the players and that the captain is the main man.
I completely agree with this. And lets face it, Pakistan has only delivered when everything has been under the control of the captain. Let him be the main man. Younis showed that during the World T20 and hopefully he will continue to do the same.
About the ICL Players
According to Younis, all the players who have left the ICL should be allowed to return; however, their top most priority should be to play for Pakistan. He said that Mohammad Yousuf should not have done what he did and that his focus should have been on playing for Pakistan irrespective of his differences with people.
He also expressed his dislike for Imran Nazir's demand for assurity of gaining a central contract on cancelling his ICL one. He said players cannot hold the board for ransom and that if the player's priority was playing for Pakistan, he should cancel his ICL contract, make himself available, and not make any demands.
He is all about honesty and about being clear isn't he. Despite Yousuf coming back into his test side, Younis didn't really care to be diplomatic. He said it how he saw it.
On the security situation in Pakistan
Younis was of the view that the PCB and the media should try and market Pakistan better than they had done in the past. He suggested inviting a World XI to Pakistan for a series of matches after a few months to assure people about the security in the country.
I am not too sure about this. I don't think Pakistan is safe yet, and I don't think inviting a World XI is the best of ideas. It may work a year or two down the line, but not when the Lahore attack on Sri Lanka is fresh in everyone's memory.
About Ijaz Butt convincing him not to retire from T20 cricket
He claimed that till now Ijaz Butt had not said anything like that to him.
So then what was Butt sahab on about?
Who he thinks should be the next T20 captain
Younis said that his logic was that Pakistan should use this opportunity to groom a younger player for the position. He mentioned that he and Misbah were the same age (this was the 2nd time) and that the PCB should look to groom someone to take over for the time after them.
He was asked again who he thinks the captain should be; his response was that besides him, Misbah, Afridi, and Malik, were all capable of being captains and that the T20 captain should be one of them.
This was the first time Younis was diplomatic in the entire interview. There was no candidness here; we all know he is lobbying Afridi's case with the PCB.
On the tour to Sri Lanka
Younis said that it will be a tough tour and that the public expectations will be high so his team will have to prove themselves.
Are your expectations high? Mine always are. I'm always optimistic about our cricket.
His 3 wishes
He wasn't actually asked that but Younis concluded the interview by sharing 3 wishes that he has always had - 1) to win a world cup, 2) to beat Australia, and 3) to beat South Africa.
Well he has accomplished one of them, even if it was a T20 one; hopefully he will have a chance in 2011 for the ODI one as well.
Regarding Australia and South Africa, I'm sure he meant beating them in a test series; that will take some doing! His team will have two cracks at the Aussies soon - in Australia in December, and in England next summer.
Here's hoping for more of his wishes coming true!
Note: A lot of what Younis Khan said was in Urdu and I have translated it when writing it down.
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