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Younis ready to lead Test team

Senior Pakistan batsman Younis Khan changes his heart by expressing his willingness to lead the national Test team.

cricket Updated: Dec 14, 2007 13:55 IST

Senior Pakistan batsman Younis Khan has had a change of heart and now he is willing to captain the national team but only after clarifying certain issues with the Cricket Board.

"If the Board wants me to lead the team I can do it. But first we need to sit down and discuss and finalise some things," Younis told PTI today.

Younis had reluctantly led the team in the last two drawn Tests against India at Kolkata and Bangalore after captain Shoaib Malik was ruled out due to an ankle injury in the three-match series.

Pakistan lost the one-day series and the first Test against India under the leadership of Malik.

But after returning to Younis said that the Board had the authority to appoint the captain and if they wanted him to do this job he was willing to discuss it with them.

"I only agreed to be vice-captain for the Indian tour because of the importance of the series. If the matches had been against any other team I might not have accepted this responsibility. But now if the Board feels I can be a good Test captain, I am willing to do it but after talking to them," he said.

Younis said he had his own way of playing cricket and leading the side.

"If the team can do well under my captaincy I would be very happy but I am not asking anyone for the job. This is the Board's prerogative what they want to do," he said.

Captaincy in the Pakistan team became an issue during the Test series when Younis said he was not happy with the way the team had been selected without his consultation for the Kolkata match.

That there is some tension between Younis and Malik was evident yesterday when the latter told a Pakistani newspaper that he had no role in the team selection for the final match in Bangalore and pacer Sohail Tanvir was dropped on the insistence of Younis.

Insiders say tension prevailed in Pakistan camp during the last two Tests in India with manager Talat Ali firmly backing Malik and the word is that Ashraf is holding a meeting with the captain and the manager today to discuss this issue.

Younis said the bowlers had struggled in India due to various reasons but they had tried hard.

"Mohammad Yousuf couldn't play his natural game because of the failure of the openers to give good starts in the Tests," he added.

Younis termed his century in Kolkata as one of his memorable knocks and also advised fans to be patient and not lose faith in their team as the future was bright for it.

Earlier this year, Younis had refused to lead the team after the retirement of Inzamam-ul Haq following Pakistan's first round exit in the World Cup.

With Younis turning down captaincy, the Board appointed Malik and last month retained him until December 2008. But after the team's defeats to South Africa and India, indications now are that the Board might rethink its decision on Malik's appointment at least for the Test matches.

Sources said with Younis now conveying to Chairman Nasim Ashraf that he was willing to lead the team, the scenario might change soon.