South Australia have offered Younis Khan, the Pakistan batsman, a short-term contract for the 2008-09 domestic season as they attempt to cover the loss of a group of senior players. After looking at their own talent and failing to capture any significant interstate signings, the struggling Redbacks have finally gone overseas in their bid for a high-quality performer.
"Recruiting Younis is an important step in our strategy and an opportunity that presents itself as too good to miss," South Australia's coach Mark Sorell said. A report last week mistakenly linked Younis to Western Australia, but it is the Redbacks who are chasing him to add stability to their line-up after losing Darren Lehmann, Matthew Elliott, Ryan Harris and Jason Gillespie.
"This is a short-term scenario which would see Younis play with us until about Christmas and then possibly return to South Australia for the finals, if required," Sorell said. "His Redbacks duties will not impinge on his commitment to Pakistan."
Younis, who has played 58 Tests and 167 one-day internationals, has series against India between December and February. Looking overseas for talent is not a regular method in Australia because part of a state's charter is to develop players for national teams. However, there have been some big names involved in the domestic game.
Barry Richards played for South Australia in the 1970s while in the 1980s Graeme Hick and Ian Botham turned out for Queensland and Imran Khan appeared for New South Wales. Most transfers have gone the other way, with state representatives heading to England for county assignments.
"Recruiting an international player is a new approach for South Australia and a bit outside the square," Sorell said. "But one of the things to be learnt from the Indian Premier League is just how much younger Australian players from the domestic level have really benefited from being exposed to, and playing with, some of the world's best international players." South Australia have struggled in first-class cricket in recent times and finished the 2007-08 season second last.