DateLine: 12th October 2006
Former Pakistani cricket captain Imran Khan on Thursday lashed out at the team management for shabbily treating current skipper Younis Khan ahead of the Champions Trophy in India.
Younis initially stepped down as captain apparently over team's selection after replacing suspended Inzamam-ul-Haq, saying he was not a dummy skipper. He was reinstated just a few days before the team's departure.
"If anyone had treated me as shabbily as thay have Younis, I would certainly have punched a member of the team's think-tank," Imran wrote in his column in the Hindustan Times.
"While I certainly don't condone his behaviour, the Pakistani team management certainly had it coming.
"He is the most selfless and accommodating cricketer to play for Pakistan, and has been shunted around for the last four years. He has been so shabbily treated since his debut that it almost seems like there is a conspiracy against him."
Imran said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the team management should have involved Younis in the selection process.
"In cricket, the captain always bears the brunt of a failed campaign, and it is patently unfair to Younis that he was handed over a team and told to lead it," said Imran, captain of the 1992 World Cup-winning squad.
"The management and the PCB knew that Inzamam would be banned, so they should have involved Younis in the selection process. The board has been functioning in the most arbitrary manner possible since 1999."
Imran said the Pakistani team were capable of doing well in the Champions Trophy despite Inzamam's absence.
"The only setback for Pakistan is the absence of Inzamam the batsman. He is still a positive, solid and important figure in the line-up," said Imran.
"Pakistan cricket has always done well despite the system and not because of it. The system sucks, but Younis Khan's team might still do well in the Champions Trophy."
Pakistan play their first match here on October 17 against the winners of Sri Lanka-West Indies game. Other teams in their group are South Africa and New Zealand.
(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)
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