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ICC World Cup: Am always ready to bat anywhere for Pak, says Younis

Karachi: Pakistan's senior batsman Younis Khan, who has been struggling to retain his place in the ODI playing XI, says he is ready to bat anywhere in the line-up as he wants to do well for his team in the ongoing ICC cricket World Cup.

Younis Khan. Pic/Suresh KK
Younis Khan. Pic/Suresh KK 

"I am always ready to bat anywhere for Pakistan because I want to perform all the time," Younis told reporters in Adelaide yesterday. Younis was sent as the makeshift opener against India in Pakistan's World Cup opening match but he failed miserably. In the second game against the West Indies, he scored a duck coming in at No. 3 position. He was subsequently dropped for the next two matches.

The 37-year-old made a comeback in the game against South Africa and scored 37 as one down batsman. "The sort of person I am everyone knows and I left the captaincy myself in the past. But as a person and human being you learn every day and now I know how big an honour it is to lead your team, perform and take your team somewhere.

"I was captain when we won the Twenty20 World Cup in 2009 and it really felt good. Now I just want to be a part of a team that can win this World Cup," insisted Younis. Forced to sit out because of his poor form, Younis admitted it was a frustrating experience for him. "My frame of mind is always positive regardless of
whether I play or not. I am always in the game.

But I have always wanted to perform for Pakistan, so it is frustrating to sit out. But it is part of life...you have good days and bad days and you learn from that," he said. Younis said that Pakistan's batting needed to improve to compete with big teams. "We need to improve a lot like other teams. See how their top-order perform and it will be good if our batsmen also get big scores in knockout stage.

The change in fielding restriction rule has given batsmen the edge. "But there is no need to be overly aggressive. If you play positively and remain at the crease, it is not difficult to score 350 plus," he pointed out. The former captain made it clear that Pakistan were not going to take Ireland lightly in their last league match, to be played on Sunday.

"It is a crucial match for us as you never know what will happen in the points table. Ireland are a side capable of causing an upset. So we are going to take this match very seriously." Younis, however, dismissed talks of his team looking to seek revenge for their 2007 World Cup loss to Ireland. "There is no element of us trying to avenge the 2007 defeat," he added.

Younis, who has played 96 Tests and 264 ODIs, said he would love to get a big score and see Pakistan win against Ireland to pay tribute to former coach Bob Woolmer, who passed away during the 2007 World Cup in Kingston, Jamaica.

"I would love to see us win against Ireland with a big performance from me. There would be nothing better to dedicate to Bob and also try to win this World Cup for him," he stated. Woolmer passed away on March 18, 2007 from natural causes in his hotel room, a day after Ireland upset Pakistan in the first round and eliminated them from the World Cup.

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