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Younis aims for consistency in his ODI return

DUBAI: Pakistan's veteran batsman Younis Khan was thankful for his return to the ODI side in the upcoming series against New Zealand. 

"I feel very happy that selectors, PCB and my country have given me chance once again in one-day side. I hope I will do well for my country also in the World Cup. I think I am a happy man at the moment," said Younis. 

A veteran batsman, Younis, now has the opportunity to play yet another time in a World Cup, but he does not want to think too far ahead. 

"I don't think anything about future plans. I am just thinking if I am fit, my form is there, especially if my commitment is there I will be able to play for a longer time. I don't plan that I will play for the next five-six years or one year. If I do perform and if my fitness, form and commitment is there, I will play for a longer time," added Younis. 

The Test and T20I series between both sides have been shared, but Younis revealed tht the side does not want to share the ODI spoils. 

"We don't want to share this one-dayers. I hope Pakistan will do well in the one-dayers. We have fantastic players in one-dayers. Everyone saw what happened in the T20s. In 50-over cricket, we have some fantastic players, who I think will perform well for Pakistan team." 

The return to the ODI side has however not changed Younis' thinking of how he wants to play in the format. 

"I am not thinking about how to play. I am just thinking that I am able to contribute to a team performance and the team wins because of that. I am not thinking that I should play fast or slow, I am just thinking for the last one or two months about how I can contribute to a team cause in any situation that the team finds itself in." 

Younis' preferred batting position in one-day cricket is in the top-order, but he is prepared to bat anywhere in the line-up for the side. 

"My position in one-day cricket has changed since the time I started playing international cricket. I am always happy if I am able to bat higher up in the order to contribute to a Pakistan win," revealed Younis.  

Pressure is always a part and parcel of any international match, but Younis is prepared to withstand the same. 

"Pressure is always there, pressure comes in different forms with regards to your performance. If you perform well then expectations are always going to rise from your fans. In my career, I have always played under pressure. You become champions by honing your ability to withstand pressure. It is good that I am always able to perform under pressure for the side," said Younis. 

A feature of Younis' batting has been his calm approach. Younis insisted that he will continue to follow the same approach.

"I always like to play calmly because that has been my style all through my career. If you look at my career, earlier I would not bat in the top-order. When I was at number six, Moin Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Afridi, Wasimbhai and Azhar Mahmood used to bat around me. Then it used to be difficult because I would get about 8-10 overs to bat. We had a lot of greats then in the line-up. Then the pressure on me was to go in for three-four overs and change things with the bat. But in 2004-05, Bob Woolmer got me to play in the top order and I had a number of performances there. My style, especially my defensive technique helped the team. In those four-five years, I performed well and the team also got a big boost. 

"My thinking is that I will perform similarly in all formats. If you saw me recently in Tests, I played aggressively where I was required to be aggressive, where I had to play defensively, I defended well. I don't look at performing for myself or that I have to perfom to get selected for the next match. If you saw, when I was not there in the one-day side against Australia, I used that as a motivation to do well in Tests. I don't think about whether I will be in the side tomorrow, or whether I will be at the World Cup. I just think that whatever almighty wants me to do, I will do similarly whether it is by playing or by not playing," said Younis.

Consistency will be the aim of Younis' approach in his return to the ODI side. 

"Whenever you perform, whether it is in T20 or one-dayers or Test cricket, they always form needs to be there consistently. I pray to the almighty that I perform in whatever one-day matches I play in the upcoming season, especially in the World Cup where there are a number of teams against whom if I do well and the team does well, then we can reclaim the past glory of Pakistan cricket. If you see the improved performances of the side, especially after the Test series win against Australia we have regained our followers. Whereever we go, people say they have started following Pakistan cricket again. If we do well again, then we will be regain all our followers." 

Known to play according to team's requirements, Younis hoped to continue to aim for that role. The fact that he has not scored an ODI hundred since 2008 does not deter the senior pro. 

"I am a batsman who plays according to team situation. I said before that when I batted six, I have also batted lower down at eight and nine. Then my thinking was not to play for my averages. If you say I do not have a century since 2008, the flipside is that there are a number of 70s and 80s. The thinking then was to play according to the situation. I didn't think that my average should go up from 31-32. For someone like me, I think the average needs to be around 40 plus. Whenever anyone sees me around the dressing room or on the field, they say he is a team man. I have earned that respect from everyone. That I think has been the biggest plus point of my career," concluded Younis.