Four reasons why sending Younus Khan as an opener is justifed

Younus was selected on the basis of his Test performance, his overall experience and his ability to deal with pressure

Ammar Rajar February 24, 2015
We have been seeing a lot of undue criticism directed towards the decision of choosing Younus Khan as an opener in the matches against India and West Indies.

But if we were to take a moment and try to understand the decision, we would see that the management had sound reasons to choose Younus.

His experience

Younus was included in the squad on the basis of his Test performance, his overall experience and his ability to deal with pressure. All of these traits were needed to defeat India. Pakistan had to find an effective combination for its openers, so sending Younus in to cope with the pressure seemed prudent. His dismal performance that followed was not expected.

Photo: Express Tribune

No one else to replace as opener

Our middle-order trio – Harris Sohail, Umar Akmal and Sohaib Maqsood – were all in good shape and had displayed their “skills” during the side matches, so sending one of them as openers would not have done well either. Similarly, the team couldn’t have more batsmen as we had to play with five bowlers, which left slots for only six batsmen – including a wicket-keeper.

Younis Khan pulled off a blinder at cover, Pakistan v New Zealand, 3rd ODI, Sharjah, December 14, 2014. Photo: AFP

A dependable player

Another reason why Younus was chosen as an opener was because of the fact that the Pakistani squad was missing a dependable opener, a position which could not have been filled by either of the middle-order trio.

If we had decided to play Younus at number three, we would have had to drop one of our middle-order batsmen, probably Sohaib, and that would have been unwise as his run rate and his performances against Bangladesh and England prove.

Younus Khan was named the ‘Cricket World Player Of The Week’ after scoring two centuries in Pakistan’s 221-run win over Australia in the first Test in Dubai in October, 2014. Photo: Reuters

No substitutes

The options for openers were Nasir Jamshed and Sarfraz Ahmed. Jamshed has only played one practice match before the World Cup in which he got out off side. He also has a poor record on seaming and bouncing pitches. In Asia, he scored three centuries against India but failed to score when he faced arch rivals in the Champions Trophy 2013, which was played in England.

Sarfarz, on the other hand, has not clicked in any of the matches before the World Cup. He has previously opened twice – against New Zealand and Bangladesh – but failed both times due to his dismal performance.

Younus Khan plays a shot during the first day of the opening Test match against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in August last year. Photo: AFP

In my opinion, sending Younus as an opener was not a bad or dumb decision. We have seen teams like Sri Lanka sending Kumar Sangakara and Mahela Jayawardene, and India sending Rahul Dravid as openers when they did not have any option left, and these openers performed well.

All those who are criticising the decision of letting Younus open should suggest better options, or otherwise not speak at all.
WRITTEN BY:
Ammar Rajar
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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COMMENTS (12)

Cricket Lover | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend Analysis was good but certainly require more details. I agree with the author. Unfortunately the plan doesn't work just for one match and we started blaming Younis khan. Once when Younis retired from T 20 cricket I read and article on cricinfo, where writes made it clear through well establish analysis that after Afridi Younis is the batsman who played minimum No run balls. Further Right now we have limited Options if we look into 15 member squad. Younis's fielding is another plus. He picked most no. of catches in One Day cricket from Pakistan side.
AB | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend Well I cant understand why we arent choosing Afridi as an opener, as he has done it before and his wicket is not that important as welll, send him up the order and play his natural flamboyant game, it will good if he release some pressure otherwise other openers as well doing the same thing, i.e 1 ball duck or 4 ball duck. At least we can settle the experienced Middle order and can include specialist wicket keeper with 5 bowlers with Yasir.
Zuhair | 5 years ago i think we should totally try Afridi as an opener. Who better to clear the in-field in the first 10 overs?
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