Saturday, 14 April 2007

Younis Khan, the wounded Pathan, shies away from captaincy

(Younis heckled at airport on return from Caribbean)

Stung by vitriol from all corners, a livid Younis Khan has rejected Pakistan’s captaincy, saying the humiliation is not worth it. He’s even planning to quit ODI and play only Test matches.

“I told them 'thank you for the offer but I am not interested, especially after the way the team has been treated after the World Cup'," Younis.

One can understand his state of the troubled mind. There world came crashing down in the World Cup. They first lost to Ireland to crash out of the event and then lost their coach Bob Woolmer.

What followed is a long rigmarole of humiliation. They were treated like criminals, were forced to stay back even though their World Cup dream was over. They were grilled, finger-printed and then had swab forced into their mouth to collect DNA samples.

Younis admits at one stage, he yelled at the police authorities, asking them not to treat the players like murderers. “We were treated as criminals, as if we had murdered Woolmer.”
The anger is understandable for Younis was especially fond of the late Woolmer. Younis used to call Woolmer’s wife, Gill, mom and they treated the player as their third son.
Things proved equally bad for Younis when he returned home after the horrendous week in the West Indies.

“Bring a donkey for him and ask him to sit on it and roam him around the city,'” one of the angry fans at Karachi International Airport shouted when Younis had arrived from London. A furious Younis had to be escorted to home by friends and family members.

But they could not keep the player away from harsh jokes and television spoof telecast round the clock.

"Losing and winning is part of the game but when your family is not spared and gets threatening calls and people abuse and insult you on returning to the country, then the captaincy is not worth it," said Younis, Inzamam-ul Haq’s heir apparent for two years.

"It was humiliating to see musicians and actors making fun of us and of our services to Pakistan cricket on television,” said the Pathan.

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