What’s the story?
Pakistan veteran cricketer Younis Khan has played down reports linking him with the job as Afghanistan head coach post-retirement, claiming that he is yet to decide on what to do once he wraps up his international career after the upcoming third Test between Pakistan and the West Indies.
Reports earlier in the day quoting Atif Mashal, the head of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), had suggested that contract talks with the 39-year-old were ongoing – something the former Pakistan skipper brushed aside as futile talks.
"This was something that was discussed three years back and it has been revived again. But at present, I have not accepted any coaching offer. After I retire I will decide about my future assignments but presently coaching Afghanistan is not among them," he said.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has been on the lookout for a high-profile name ever since former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq left the post after the 2016 ICC World T20 to take up the job as chief selector of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
With former Indian cricketer, Lalchand Rajput at the helm, Afghanistan has done commendably well, registering series victories over the likes of Ireland and Zimbabwe. However, with Younis Khan set to retire from international cricket after the West Indies tour, it seems the ACB were keen to rope in the experienced veteran to replace Rajput.
The heart of the matter
Younis, who recently became the first Pakistani cricketer to reach the landmark of 10000 runs in the longest format of the game, has been the batting mainstay of the Pakistan Test side, along with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who will join Younis in bidding farewell to international cricket after the third Test against the West Indies which got underway at Dominica on Wednesday.
He has however already tried his hand at coaching, or mentoring to be precise, as he flourished in his role as mentor of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Peshawar Zalmi, who clinched the title in 2017.
Recent media reports in Pakistan also claimed that Younis would be appointed as a mentor of the Pakistan Under-19 side and that he would be heading to New Zealand with the junior side for the next edition of the U-19 ICC World Cup in 2018.
While a clarity on the above reports is yet to be ascertained, the veteran cricketer has decided to clear the air about talks of him becoming coach of the Afghanistan cricket team. So it means that in all probability he would be taking up a job based in his home country after his retirement from Test cricket.
The strong reaction from Younis is sure to have stunned the head of the ACB who is expected to respond soon. A more detailed explanation can certainly be expected from Younis as to what he plans to do post-retirement.
Younis, along with Misbah-ul-Haq, has been shouldering the responsibility of the Pakistan middle order for a long time now and with age no longer by their side, the duo will, in most probability, take time off the game to cool their minds off as well as give their body some proper rest.
It would be surprising to see either of them taking up a high-profile job soon after retirement, and as earlier reported, it could well be the Pakistan U-19 mentor role that Younis is keen on once he is ready.