Dravid deserves place in Indian team: Younis

Published: Saturday, November 3, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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New Delhi: Pakistan vice-captain Younis Khan feels that in the absence of experienced Rahul Dravid, India are in the backfoot in the high voltage five-match ODI series against them starting on Monday.

''Dravid is an immensely experienced player and I do not know why he was being dropped. India could be in trouble if they lose the first two ODIs in his absence,'' he said here today.

''In that case, Dravid will have to be brought in. But, by then India would have been 0-2 down in the five-match series,'' said Younis, indicating that it would be very difficult for the hosts to come back and win the series from there.

''It is a high-voltage series and players like Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly have played so many pressure matches and they know how to handle the situation as well as guide the youngsters,'' he told reporters at a media interaction a day before leaving for Guwahati for the first match.

Younis also did not agree with the talk of rotation policy and resting of seniors to infuse young blood, an idea current among Indian selectors and board officials.

He said seniors should be dropped for drafting in youngsters only if they (the incumbents) were nearly good as them.

''People talk of replacing Sachin, Dravid, or Younis or Mohd.

Yousuf. But, ideally it could be when their replacement are at least 75 per cent as good as them.

''See in Pakistan team, there are very few senior players left, me, Yousuf and Shoaib Akhtar and we have to guide the younger lot especially in pressure games like against India,'' said the 29-year-old right-handed batting mainstay.

He said the Twenty20 format was good for cricket but felt players like Tendulkar, Dravid and himself can adapt to it.

Younis also made it clear that he took up the vice -captaincy of the team to support his much younger captain Shoaib Malik as there are only a few seniors in the team.

''I had given lots of support to Shoaib Malik against Australia.

So, I thought with few senior players left, it would be good for the team to help him (Shaoib) out and guide the youngsters,'' said Younis, who spurned captaincy after Inzamam-ul-Haq decided to quit one-day cricket after the disastrous World Cup campaign.

Pakistan team management fielded five youngsters -- Salman Butt, Sohail Tanvir, Abdur Rehman, Misbah-ul-Haq, Rao Iftikhar Anjum -- and Younis Khan as the only senior player, perhaps to avoid media glare even before the beginning of the high-voltage series.

Neither did run machine Mohammad Yousuf, who had ditched 'rebel' Indian Cricket League to switch sides to BCCI-backed Indian Premier League after much persuasion by Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Nashim Ashraf, face the media.


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