Younis Khan has confirmed his unavailability for Pakistan's forthcoming series in Abu Dhabi against Sri Lanka.
Younis was not named in the list of probables announced by Pakistan selectors yesterday for the series, though officials had refused to rule out his participation. But Salahuddin Ahmed, Pakistan's new chief selector, confirmed that Younis had pronounced himself unavailable. "He has informed me today that he is not available for this particular ODI series," Ahmed told Mag4you.com. "He has county commitments with Yorkshire and has told the board officially as well that he would not like to be considered for this series."
Younis declined the Pakistan captaincy in the immediate aftermath of the World Cup, citing the mental strain that comes with the job. He also suggested publicly that he might retire from ODI cricket altogether, though Ahmed said he was not aware of any such decision yet. "As far as we know, he is only missing this ODI series so far and has not said anything about retirement from this form of the game," he said. Nevertheless, his decision to miss the series is unlikely to dampen the speculation that he will likely quit one-day internationals soon enough.
Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Danish Kaneria are also high-profile absentees from those who went to the Caribbean and despite good form for their county sides, Ahmed said only that "they were not under consideration for the moment". He didn't rule out a return for either in the future.
A statement from the board added that a few more players may not be able to attend the camp. "As per the Selection Committee, there are a few other players from the 39 names announced who have signed contracts for league cricket in England and may not be able to attend the camp. The situation would be clear by tomorrow evening with regards to their availability and the decision for their replacements would be announced accordingly."
A number of former Under-19 stars have also been picked for the camp, due to be held in Lahore from April 28 to May 4, including wicketkeepers Sarfraz Ahmed and Zulqernain Haider, legspinning allrounder Mansoor Amjad and Fawad Alam. "Our choice of a young captain is forward-looking and the players we have picked for the camp, I believe, reflect that," said Ahmed. "We have great young talent and the players picked have proved themselves at domestic level."