In a fresh twist to the never-ending soap opera that is Pakistan cricket, reports have quoted Younus Khan as saying that he 'lost command' over the team with a group of senior players intent to undermine him, leading to his request for a rest from the PCB.
"I met the chairman today and told him I needed to rest," Younis was quoted as saying by the website cricinfo. "I told him I feel as if I have no command over this team. And if a leadership has no command over its players, what is the point of continuing to lead? I also told him that the last 3-4 months have been very trying times for me, not just with the cricket but all that has happened outside it. I need time to get myself together now."
After the Champions Trophy, in which Pakistan lost in the semi-finals to New Zealand, Younus had offered his resignation in the wake of match-fixing allegations, but one of the underlying reasons was also the lack of support he got from a group of players.
Although Younus has not named anyone, reports suggested that among the players unhappy with Younus's captaincy were Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Shahid Afridi.
Sources close to Younus were quoted as saying that he was very disappointed at the manner in which some of the senior batsmen lost their wickets in the third and final ODI against New Zealand, when an unexpected 103 run partnership for the last wicket almost took Pakistan to victory. However that came after Pakistan were 101/9, with a lot of batsmen getting out to bad shots on a pitch that wasn't difficult.
"He was really unhappy with the shots some of the batsmen played and he feels as if they did it deliberately to undermine him," one source told cricinfo. "He just feels as if he is knocking his head against a brick wall, telling batsmen, senior guys, how to play and them just not listening. He is tired of the constant fighting within the team, especially when it is not clear what they are all fighting or upset about. Nobody has gone to him directly to say anything and that has upset him the most. It isn't so much the pressure of his own failures that has brought him down as this."
With this latest chapter in the captaincy drama, Pakistan has appointed Mohammad Yousuf as the interim captain for the New Zealand tour.
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