Pakistan going into World Cup 2024 with 'good combination': Younis Khan

"But we can always try different things in matches to come before the World Cup," he says

Faizan Lakhani
Pakistan going into World Cup 2024 with good combination: Younis Khan
Former Pakistan captain Younis Khan speaks to the media in Karachi, on May 21, 2024. — Reporter

KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Younis Khan, who led the country to a historic T20 World Cup victory in 2009, has expressed optimism about the national side's current team combination and chances in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Talking to the media at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, Younis also stressed the need for the resumption of regular cricket series between Pakistan and India and demanded politicians of both countries allow this to happen.

"Team combination is good," Younis said when asked how he sees the team for the T20 World Cup.

"But we can always try different things in matches to come before the World Cup and go for something which is good for the team. I would suggest that we test the remaining players in the series against England so that we have a clear picture ahead of the World Cup," he added.

When asked about the highly anticipated India vs Pakistan clash in the World Cup, Younis highlighted the unique pressure and unpredictability of the match between arch-rivals.

"India vs Pakistan is always start as a fifty-fifty game," he remarked.

"Even though one team might look superior on paper, this match is not just about skills; it also tests your nerves. So, I believe the team that can hold their nerve better will have smooth sailing in the match.,"Younis added.

Younis also stressed the importance of regular bilateral series to reduce the pressure on players saying that players from both teams enjoy very cordial relationships with each other.

"Pakistani cricketers have always spoken in favour of India vs Pakistan games. We need to play more frequently, not just in ICC events, because once we start playing each other more regularly, it will also take the pressure of this game’s intensity off the players' shoulders."

"This match (India vs Pakistan) always produces future stars for both teams. The one who performs in this game becomes a hero at home,” he said.

"It is time for the governments and cricket boards in both countries to sit together and think about resuming India-Pakistan cricket. Players from both teams enjoy very cordial relations with each other," he said.

Talking about potential match-winners in Pakistan’s side, the former captain pointed towards the team’s depth and versatility saying that the team has some good players in all the departments of the game.

"Pakistan’s current team has four to five match-winners in all departments of the game, be it batting, bowling, or all-rounders. We have all the ingredients in our team; it is all about utilising them properly."

"T20 is not about a set batting order or bowling order; you have to make changes frequently according to the team’s requirements and match situation. We need to be flexible with batting order and bowling options, and if we do that, then we will have a clear chance of playing the final."

The former captain, when asked if he has any advice for current captain Babar Azam, urged him to lead by example and focus on the team’s overall performance.

"Babar Azam is a top player and he is in good form. He must lead the team from the front. He must not only focus on his own performance but also extract the best out of his team."

"When you’re the captain, it’s not just about your own performance; you need to focus on other players’ performances as well. I would love to see Babar becoming man of the series and also winning the trophy for Pakistan,” he said.

Younis said that in the T20 format, roles should be mutual instead of handing over certain responsibilities of playing style to certain players.

Emphasising the collective responsibility of the entire batting lineup, Younis said that playing aggressively shouldn’t be the responsibility of only one or two players.

"In this format, everyone has to play their part, be it a youngster or a senior. Everyone should contribute according to the situation. Make sure you play the powerplay according to the powerplay, and we also need batters who can keep the scoreboard moving in the middle overs."

"It is important that we don’t slowdown in the 7th to 14th over. Pakistan must keep the target of 200+ if they’re batting first if they want to do well in the World Cup," Younis concluded.