Younis Khan, ODI team selection is based on performance, not contacts

Experience doesn’t score runs and dependability, in Younis' case, is relative. He did not deserve to go to the ODIs.

Nazim Zaka November 12, 2013
Do you remember the days when you would place a school bag on your preferred bus seat to symbolise that it was reserved? It would take a routine effort to have the bag all packed at the end of the last period and then dash towards the car park to get a preferred position.

However, if you were part of a 'gang', they would ensure you get a seat alongside them regardless. That would happen, of course, at the expense of a not-so-connected boy. And so goes the story of the mainstay of our One Day International (ODI) middle order.

Back in the day, Younis Khan had the big boys’ support.

Inzamamul Haq and Mohammad Yousaf covered for him and after the first four intensely mediocre years of international cricket, Younis notched up his first ODI century. At the time, he was an ‘asset’ in the making; an investment of years of hogging the spot between two batting greats of modern cricket.

Today, Younis gives a desirable average of 31.88 in ODIs. The opportunity cost of it, however, is the current state of our middle order now. Younis was the preferred investment despite Misbah’s impeccable domestic credentials and look what that resulted in. In due course, Inzamam and Yousaf got off the bus. Misbah’s stop is the next one, it seems, and all he can really do now is to sit down and pray for a traffic jam to appear before his stop comes up.

This brings us to 2013.

Younis’s disappointment at not being selected for the South Africa ODI series in United Arab Emirates (UAE) was expected and nuanced. It was the same for all of us who have come to think of him as the most experienced and dependable middle order batsman that we have. Two things here; experience doesn’t score runs and dependable, in this case, is relative.

The selectors and team management have different purposes for each player in the team for the short and long term. It would be fair to say that the expectation with Younis nowadays is to make runs and, in the process, nurture younger players with his irreplaceable experience; one being the prerequisite of the other.

This expectation would usually come by once a player had performed with at least 253 ODI runs. Younis, however, has only scored around 190 ODI runs in the 2013 calendar year, at an average of 23.75, and yet he has managed to fulfill these expectations.

I guess there comes a time when the selectors feel that a learning middle order prospect with potential to pay dividends in the future is a better bet. A lot like Younis Khan’s early years – a lean form in the two test series and hardly any domestic matches in the past four months - didn’t help make a stronger case for Younis’ return.

Shoaib Maqsood, the rookie prospect, and Asad Shafiq, the ‘experienced’ prospect, were selected for the series. Both have their merits in domestic performance and recent forms respectively. Misbahul Haq and Umer Akmal have won us ODIs with the bat this year as well. If wrong, the decision to drop Younis wasn’t so blatantly wrong; at least not blatantly wrong enough to make him feel shocked and surprised.

Sorry Younis, your pickings are slim and failure sticks out like a sore thumb now that there is no one to clean up the mess. You are no more part of the buddy boys’ group. Be disappointed but only with yourself.

You didn’t deserve the seat this time.
Nazim Zaka A Technology Consultant working in the field of telecoms, living in England. Tweets as @nazimzaka (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

Facebook Conversations


WAJEEH FEROZ | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend So true. We haven't got any new batsmen who can play good in seeming and bouncy conditions except the new sohaib. Player like shoaib malik and younis khan are very important for Pakistan batting line up. There fitness is good and they always keep the scorecard running, not like misbah who has to work on his technique.
Jaz | 6 years ago I slightly agreed with Wajeeh, our team need Younus khan but not Shaoib Malik, because Shaoib Malik is not a player of seeming wickets and he could not performed well outside indopak or srilanka or bangladesh.Colliers Wood Taxi
buder | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend In my humble opinion Younis khan should immediately take retirement and keep his phenomenal experience shadows away from Pakistan first class and international cricket. We will also pay tribute to him if he manages to convince Afridi to retire too.Young cricketers should aim for ODI avg higher the 50 % if they really want to excel in competitive world of cricket .
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ