Pressure on Younis Khan to perform in NZ ODIs: Shoaib Akhtar
Pakistan's former star players Shoaib Akhtar and Muhammad Yousuf feel that the next few one-day games against New Zealand will decide the future of senior batsman Younis Khan in limited-overs cricket.
Karachi: Pakistan's former star players Shoaib Akhtar and Muhammad Yousuf feel that the next few one-day games against New Zealand will decide the future of senior batsman Younis Khan in limited-overs cricket.
Both the players felt that Younis must be feeling the pressure now to perform and justify his place in the ODI side.
"This series is crucial for Younis if he wants to cement his place in the World Cup squad. Because there has been lot of debate on whether he deserves a place in the 50-overs format even though there is no doubt he is a certain selection in the test side," Akhtar said.
"I would say give Younis full chance in the remaining matches against New Zealand and see how he does. He must be given the opportunity to prove himself. If he fails than obviously he is out of the ODI squad," he added.
Yousuf also stated that the team management must allow Younis to bat at the position he feels comfortable at. "If he wants to bat at number three than let him bat at number three so that he does not have any regrets or complaints afterwards."
Yousuf also felt that Pakistan needed to do some soul searching before the World Cup.
"We won a close match against New Zealand on Monday but I am worried about our batting and the fact that we played with just three specialist bowlers. We need to strike the right balance in the remaining matches that is to try to win and at same time also form the right combination for the World Cup," he added.
Yousuf pointed out that he was still not convinced because New Zealand was a weak side at the moment in 50-overs format.
"They are weak against spin and our batting also struggled against them so that is something we need to look at and form the right batting combination," he added.
Yousuf also advised the national selectors to try a new opening combination for the World Cup and rely on new players like Babar Azam and Sami Aslam.
The former stars praised Shahid Afridi for his batting performance in the first ODI but felt at his age even he knew he had to now perform at all costs.
"It is great to see Afridi adjusting his game at his age and after nearly 400 matches. It is good to see he understands the importance of his contributing in both bowling and batting in the one-dayers in the run up to the World Cup," Akhtar said.
He pointed out that since Afridi had been appointed captain of the T20 squad there was more responsibility on him to perform more consistently now.
Akhtar also advised the selectors to send leg spinner, Yasir Shah for the ODIs to strengthen the bowling line up. "I think he bowled beautifully in the tests and he has gained confidence and he will do well even in Australia in the World Cup. We have played two leg spinners in the past many times."