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Younus Khan: Pakistan Will Be One Of The Top Three Sides In The World In Two Years

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Younus Khan: Pakistan Will Be One Of The Top Three Sides In The World In Two Years

Younus Khan believes his Pakistan side will be ranked among the top three sides in world cricket within the next two years.

Currently they are ranked fifth in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and sixth in Tests in the Reliance Mobile ICC Championship tables.

But speaking to the media after the Pakistan squad arrived in the United Arab Emirates for the Cool & Cool Cup of three ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Younus said the side had the potential to rise up the listings.

"We have a good team," he said. "I know my gut feeling is in a couple more years we will be a top-ranking team.

"If we focus on every tour we will be somewhere in the top three, and that will be an achievement for me and my country."

One reason for that optimism in the future is the arrival on the international scene of 17 year-old pace sensation Mohammad Aamer.

The left-armer performed impressively in Pakistan's ICC World Twenty20 triumph in England in June and the side's run to the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final in South Africa.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said Aamer had impressed his players during their semi-final encounter in the latter tournament and would be one to watch during the Cool & Cool Cup.

But Younus said he was confident about his side's prospects because Aamer was just one of a host of star performers in the Pakistan line-up.

"It's not only Aamer as we have other match-winning players in our team," he said, responding to Vettori's praise for the teenager.

"There are players like Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Yousuf and myself and in the bowling there's (fast bowler) Umar Gul.

"He wasn't in touch during the Champions Trophy but he's still a match-winner and then there's (off-spinner) Saeed Ajmal as well.

"So it's not a case of relying only on Aamer. He's young in international cricket, I'll give him a free hand, he'll play with a free mind and he'll perform."

Younus has that host of star performers to call upon but one of his tasks as captain will be to ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction. He achieved that, famously, to secure the ICC World Twenty20 title, and he said that sense of togetherness was something he admired in Vettori's line-up.

"The New Zealand team are good and they play as a team, that's their positive point," he commented. "They will not rely only on one particular player and that's a good point about them.

"In the Champions Trophy no one ranked them highly but they still got to the final. New Zealand and Sri Lanka, these types of sides play as a team, so I think we'll be in for a good competition."

And Younus put that team spirit in the New Zealand camp down to the influence of the captain Vettori who, he said, would ensure the Black Caps put their recent controversy involving the resignation of coach Andy Moles behind them when the series begins.

"Sometimes these things can be affecting a side but it depends on what type of leader you have and Vettori is fantastic," he said.

"They have had other issues too: it's not always possible to play in your conditions and sometimes your best players are in the team and sometimes they are not.

"This is what international cricket is all about and you need your boss to be good in these situations.

"Sometimes you don't perform (as captain) but you must still motivate your players and if you don't perform as captain you can't just hide somewhere because your team mates still need you as captain.

"You must deal with situations and I hope Daniel Vettori will be good in these conditions," he added.

Bank Alfalah presents the Cool & Cool Cup with New Zealand facing Pakistan in three ODIs in Abu Dhabi on 3, 6 and 9 November followed by two T20Is at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on 12 and 13 November.

Premium and platinum tickets for the matches at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium are available through Dubai Sports City on +971 4 425 1111, www.boxofficeme.com or via +971 4 367 6699, and www.timeoutdubai.com or 800 4669.

Prices range from just AED 75 up to AED 950, and corporate hospitality packages are also available from Dubai Sports City on +971 4 425 1111.

An interview with New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori is available for download and free editorial use from the ICC's website at http://icc-cricket.yahoo.net/media_interactive_zone/audio_interview.php.

News on the build-up to the series can be found at http://www.dubaisportscity.ae/news.asp

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