Younis should have played series: Waqar

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Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, has added his disquiet to the timing of Younis Khan’s retirement from one-day cricket after the batsman quit on the day of the opening match in the series against England.

Having been recalled to the one-day side for the first time since the World Cup, Younis then announced that the first game in Abu Dhabi would be his last. He made 9 before pulling to mid-on and was then replaced by debutant Iftikhar Ahmed for the second match which Pakistan lost by 95 runs.

“Reality demanded that he should have completed the series. But that is the way he thinks and he is, I am very proud of the way he played the game,” Waqar told media in Sharjah. “He will continue to play Test cricket and I am hopeful that he will complete 10,000 Test runs but it was an unfortunate way [to retire] and the decision was sudden and that was a big shock for us.”

Waqar’s comments follow those of the PCB chairman, Shaharyar Khan, who said: “I am disappointed at not only his decision to retire from ODIs but also the timing of his decision.”

However, Waqar’s thoughts are more firmly focussed on how Pakistan respond to their drubbing in the second match and he admitted that the quality of England’s fightback had surprised him after the opening game where Pakistan cruised to a six-wicket victory.

Alex Hales’ maiden ODI hundred helped England to 283 for 5 on a sluggish pitch before Pakistan’s top order fell in a heap to leave them 50 for 5 in the 19th over.

“England bounced back and bounced back well, we probably were not thinking that they are going to play that well so we have to play out of our skins to make it 2-1,” Waqar said. “Obviously we were expecting a fightback from England but we also played poor cricket in that game. We were not up to the mark in batting and at no time we were in the game and we must make sure it doesn’t happen next time.”

Pakistan reshuffled their batting order for the second match in Abu Dhabi, moving Babar Azam up to open at the expense of Bilal Asif whose place in the side went to Mohammad Rizwan who slotted in at No. 6. The members of the 16-man squad who have yet to feature in the series are opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad, allrounder Aamer Yamin, paceman Rahat Ali and left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar.