Karachi: Seasoned Pakistan batsman Younis Khan says Indian great Rahul Dravid played a huge role in his development as a top class Test batsman.
Younis said if he could become a solid number three batsman in Pakistan side, he owes it to Dravid. "The tips and advice I got from Dravid at the early stages of the my career helped me develop into a top batsman who was comfortable at the number three position," Younis said when asked about reports that the former Indian captain had helped him out in the past.
Younis said he spoke to Dravid on a tour and later on a couple of occasions about his batting technique and got some very good advice which helped him improve his batting skills. "Dravid was a top class professional and one of the greats of the modern era and I learnt from him," he said. The outspoken Pakistani senior also admitted for the first time that his decision to quit as captain in 2009 was a mistake.
"When I was made captain in 2009 I had told the then Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board Ijaz Butt that if I didn't deliver I would resign from the captaincy myself. "I decided to resign as captain when we were in Abu Dhabi playing against New Zealand in late 2009 because I felt I couldn't deliver as I couldn't unite the team," Younis said about the incident where he went to Butt and offered his resignation which was accepted.
The resignation came after a few players revolted against the captaincy of Younis. But the Pakistan batting star made it clear that he regarded Ijaz Butt who remained Chairman from 2008 to 2012 as one of the strongest heads of the board he had seen. "Ijaz was ready to take hard decisions even with players. He supported me a lot as captain and he was the one who made me the captain and we went onto win the World T20 Cup in England in 2009."
Younis said he had made mistakes in his cricket career and noted that every person was prone to making mistakes. "No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. I also made mistakes and one of them was to leave the captaincy. But now I realise it is a big honour to lead your country and If I get a chance to lead the team again I will do it," he said.
Asked about his decision to quit the national T20 captaincy and the format after winning the World Cup in England, Younis said he did it because he felt T20 cricket was a format purely for the youngsters. "I still believe this cricket is for youngsters and you can see that in other cricket nations as well."
When asked whether his decision to quit T20 cricket had something to do with his first stint in the Indian Premier League with Rajasthan Royals, Younis said that was also a major reason. "Yes it is true I was not happy when I got to play just one match for the Rajasthan team in the IPL. I don¿t know what were the reasons for captain Shane Warne to not play me.
But I felt offended that even though we had qualified for the knockout stage with a few matches remaining in the league stage they still gave me just one match. "But to be honest after looking at the environment in the first IPL I don¿t think I would have been able to adjust there as well myself," he said. Younis insisted that IPL was good for cricket despite all the spot fixing revelations attached to it in recent times.
"Look where there is big money there will always be scandals. This is life. The element of greed is always present. But it is good for the players as they are earning well and it is good entertainment for the people as well." Younis also made it clear that although he had quit T20 but if required he was available to play in the Pakistan Premier League T20 when it was launched next year in February by the PCB.
The former captain admitted that the spot-fixing scandal in England and the attack on the Sri Lankan team had badly damaged the image of Pakistan cricket specially the spot fixing issue in 2010. "It happened in England, the home of cricket it was very damaging for Pakistan cricket but we must be given credit that we kept going and still doing well despite so many problems."
Younis said he had no immediate plans to retire but what was most important for him was how he carried his image. "I have never disrespected anyone in my life. I have always thought about Pakistan first and then myself. No captain or coach can say Younis didn't support them or backed out of a given challenge. But I believe that every player whether he has played 100 tests or one test deserves to be treated with respect."