KARACHI: Veteran batsman Younus Khan, who has been in prolific form of late with his flurry of centuries, is hoping to score a century in Pakistan’s first World Cup match against India, which will be played on February 15.
The 37-year-old has scored 7,177 runs, which include seven centuries and 48 fifties, in 259 ODIs at an average of 31.75.
However, his track record in Australia in the 50-over format has been poor with just 147 runs in nine matches and a below-par average of 18.37 with no century to his name.
Like a man eager to change his fate Down Under, Younus said he was hopeful of recording his first century there and beating India, a victory never tasted by the men in green at the mega event to date. “I hope that I can score a century in my first match against India which can propel Pakistan to victory over our rivals and hopefully change history in the process.”
He further spoke of his recent heroics against Australia in the UAE, stating that there had been talks of his poor form against the Kangaroos, talks that he quashed after scoring three centuries against them, including a double ton.
“I’m very optimistic that things will change just like they did against Australia where I went on to score three centuries. With a positive attitude, you can do well in any condition against any team but the real challenge is to make sure that the self-belief stays,” he added.
The premier batsman had previously wished to bat at his favourite spot, number three, where he has scored most of his career runs – 3,469 runs in 118 matches at an average of 30.69 with six centuries and 23 fifties.
Interestingly though, Younus has a better average at number four and six. While batting at four, he has scored 1,336 runs in 41 outings at an average of 35.15, and at number six, he has accumulated 1,013 runs from 29 innings with his best average of 42.20.
“There is no reason I can’t perform in Australia or New Zealand at number three because it is a slot which has changed my cricket ever since the late Bob Woolmer used me there in 2004-05 against England. Even if two new balls are used, I can’t drop my number because I want to take the bull by the horns.
“I want to bat at number three or even an opener if necessary since I start doubting myself as a player when I bat lower down the order. I want to play match-winning innings like Imran Khan did in 1992.”
Junaid is recovering well: official
Pakistan’s fast-bowler Junaid Khan, who slipped during a practice session yesterday, is recovering well after sustaining bruises to his right leg during the team’s World Cup training camp in Lahore.
The slip was caused by a soggy wicket but the injury has not jeopardised Junaid’s World Cup hopes.
“Junaid has been icing his right leg after slipping while bowling as his spikes failed to grip the pitch,” a PCB official who witnessed the incident told The Express Tribune. “He is recovering well and will be able to bowl at full speed in two or three days. So far, it’s not true that his World Cup participation is in doubt.”
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