Younis Khan, in his first press conference since being named Pakistan captain, gave his support to his predecessor Shoaib Malik and backed him to retain his place in the team. The Pakistan Cricket Board had acted immediately after Pakistan's heavy loss to Sri Lanka in the recent ODI series and the first casualty was Malik, whose captaincy credentials and place in the side have been under scrutiny since he took over after the 2007 World Cup.
Malik's tenure will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, with senior players finding themselves isolated and even some younger players suffering, in addition to the team's inconsistent showings. Younis, however, insisted that he enjoyed a good relationship with Malik despite the captaincy change and said it is important they support each other.
"Malik is a senior player and he is a regular member of the team," Younis said. "He is like a younger brother to me. We talked on the telephone yesterday and there's complete harmony between us. When he was captain he got my full support and now I expect the same from him."
Younis said yesterday that he needed the firm backing of his players if the team needs to move forward. He wanted his players to wave magic wands and show more consistency, starting with the two-Test series against Sri Lanka next month, his first series as captain in an official capacity.
"I want to lead the side from the front like Imran Khan used to do," Younis said. "It's a challenge for us and hopefully when we play the second test in Lahore, we will win the trophy against Sri Lanka. Wherever we went after Saturday's defeat against Sri Lanka we felt awkward and guilty because we lost badly."