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No decision taken on Younis’ inclusion in ODI squad: PCB chief

LAHORE: While dispelling rumours suggesting Younis Khan will be included in national team for the ODI series against Australia in the UAE, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman on Thursday said the Board had decided to seek help from both the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) for reviving its bilateral ‘A’ team tours.

“I have come to know about some rumours signalling Younis will go to the UAE to join the team as the 16th member but let me make it clear, no such decision has been taken,” Shaharyar told Dawn while replying to a question here on Thursday.

When pointed out that national junior chief selector Basit Ali had indicated about Younis’ inclusion (in the team) during a recent TVprogramme, Shaharyar said he had no information about that programme.

“If Basit has said this [on Younis matter] then it is unfair because being the junior chief selector he should be careful and responsible in giving statements. I am now going to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but I will definitely ask Basit [later] why he made such a statement,” Shaharyar said.

The PCB has been strongly criticised by cricketing quarters for dropping Younis — a 254-ODI veteran — from the high-profile Australia ODI series, who could feature in just one ODI in the last ODI rubber in Sri Lanka after being given a comeback chance by the selectors following a 17-month period.

Meanwhile, Shaharyar said: “Tomorrow I am leaving to visit India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and later Dubai to meet ICC officials there with my primary focus on reviving ‘A’ team activities, which have been suspended for the last many years.

“Due to this suspension Pakistan cricket has suffered.”

Here it is instructive to mention that Pakistan last hosted an ‘A’ team — from Australia — in 2007 while Pakistan ‘A’ squad last made a foreign trip in 2010, to the West Indies.

“Yes this is a long gap and I think that no country can expect to produce talent of international standard without providing its ‘A’ team enough international exposure,” the chairman noted, adding that proper and timely development of ‘A’ teams helps a lot in strengthening the bench-strength of national squad.

Responding to a question how it would be possible for Pakistan to host foreign ‘A’ teams amid security concerns while several of them had already hosted Pakistan in recent years, Shaharyar said: “It’s true that though all foreign countries are ready to play Pakistan ‘A’ but at neutral venues, so it is a major problem.

“We have to fix this at all costs and to achieve this purpose I have plans to ask the ICC and the ACC to help Pakistan financially.

“First of all my priority will be to invite ‘A’ teams to Pakistan; if it is not possible then in the second attempt, economically cheap neutral venues will be selected to host those ‘A’ outfits with the ICC help and that of the ACC,” Shaharyar concluded.

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