We will emerge stronger after crisis: Younis

Published: Monday, October 16, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Jaipur:Rocked by the doping scandal involving his two strike bowlers, Pakistan captain Younis Khan today put in a brave face, saying the team would leave the crisis behind and come out stronger.

Fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif were caught in a doping test for taking performance-enhancing drug Nandrolone.

''I am confident that the team will come stronger out of the crisis. I support my players and there is no need to panic,'' Younis told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

Pakistan take on Sri Lanka in their ICC Champions Trophy opener at Sawai Man Singh Stadium here tomorrow.

The Pakistan skipper, however, admitted that the loss of Akhtar and Asif was a body blow to the team and has created a tough situation for Pakistan.

''It is always tough for any team to lose key players. It is just the same for Pakistan. They are our key players. But in a way, it's good that we had to deal with a difficult situation before kicking off our campaign. Had it happened during the course of the tournament it would have been more difficult to deal with,'' he said.

Younis said the team wants to look beyond the crisis and concentrate on the work at hand.

''We want to put this issue behind now and prepare for tomorrow's match. Sri Lanka are a formidable side. They are good at fielding, heve good middle order batsmen and they have one of the most lethal spinners in the world in Muttiah Muralitharan.

''They (Sri Lanka) have already played three matches and have acclimatised to the conditions. So, it will not be easy for us to beat them. ''But we are confident of beating them,'' he said.

When asked who were responsible for the positive dope tests of Akhtar and Asif, he said, ''We all are responsible. The PCB, players and the team management are responsible.'' Coach Bob Woolmer tried to shift the focus from the dope test to cricket.

''Pakistan will take the disappointment to their stride. It was in fact I who told PCB to institute a medical panel for dope testing after ICC took a decision to take random samples.'' When asked if he was considering quitting after the sensational happening, Woolmer said, ''I love the game, it is my passion. But, I can't predict the future.''


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