Karachi, Mar 18: Pakistan's cricket community of former Test players are in favour of the national team management playing senior batsman Younis Khan in the World Cup quarter-final against Australia in Adelaide on Friday. (Reserve day rules)
The Pakistan think-tank had sidelined Younis for the last game against Ireland in order bring in Haris Sohail, even though the senior batsman struck some form with a resilient 37 against South Africa while batting at number three. But on Tuesday former players pleaded for the inclusion of Younis against Australia.
"I think the pressure Younis will have on the Australians batting at number three no other batsman in the team can have certainly not Haris Sohail," former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja told Geo News channel.
He pointed out that Pakistan would need the experience of Younis against Australia in the high-pressure match. The cricketer-turned-commentator opined that with Pakistan's opening problem resolved due to the form of Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed this was the best time to play Younis at number three.
Rameez also felt that the Misbah-ul-Haq-led side can beat Australia as they had gotten used to playing in Adelaide and the co-hosts would feel the pressure of the home crowd.
"Pakistan has a very high chance of reaching the semi-finals because they have sustained and performed under pressure in the group matches and they should now play without any pressure against Australia," he said. The former opener also batted for wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz.
"Before this World Cup I had mentioned three game changers for Pakistan and one of them was Sarfraz. I don't think there was any ego problem on part of Waqar (Younis) not to play Sarfraz but yes I think the captain and coach failed to recognise the fighting qualities of Sarfraz.
"Sarfraz is not my relative nor lives in Lahore but yet I have been speaking for him because I believe he is essential for this team. And that is why I am also pushing for the inclusion of leg spinner, Yasir Shah I see no valid reason for not playing him."
'Definitely there is a place for Younis'
Former Test captain Muhammad Yousuf said he would also like to see Younis back in the playing eleven.
"Younis showed his old form against South Africa and he should be given a chance in such a big match that is the quarter final," Yousuf said.
Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said he would also like to see Younis back in the side.
"Definitely there is a place for Younis at one down position as there is no better player than him for this position against Australia. But I think Misbah should not bat at number four instead Umar Akmal should be promoted to this spot," Akhtar said on Geo News.
He also advised the team management to play Yasir Shah in place of the injured Muhammad Irfan.
"They should give confidence to Yasir Shah as he can be a good choice to play instead of Irfan," Akhtar added.
He also felt that Pakistan should bat first in the quarter final and any score in excess of 250 would give Pakistan the better chance of winning the match.
Former Test opener and coach Mohsin Khan also felt that Younis's experience would be invaluable in the quarter final.
"He is an established performer and he showed form and confidence against South Africa. I would rather bet on him than anyone else against Australia. Younis can be banked on to get a match winning hundred in the big match."