In a surprise change of heart, Younis Khan has said he is now willing to lead the Test side if the Pakistan board asked him to do so.
Younis has long shown a reluctance to lead Pakistan. He gave up the captaincy - and swiftly took it back - last year before the Champions Trophy, and then turned down the post again after the Caribbean World Cup this year.
And he was again an unwilling stand-in captain after Shoaib Malik's ankle injury ruled him out of the last two Tests against India. "If the board wants me to lead the team, I can do it. But first we [himself and the officials] need to sit down, discuss and finalise some things," Younis told PTI.
Younis had been the official vice-captain for two years under Inzamam-ul-Haq and was widely expected to take over once Inzamam resigned. At the time of his refusal, he also stepped down from the vice-captain's role, before surprisingly accepting for the tour to India.
"I only agreed to be vice-captain for the Indian tour because of the importance of the series. If the matches had been against any other team I might not have accepted this responsibility.
"But now if the board feels I can be a good Test captain, I am willing to do it but after talking to them," he said. "If the team can do well under my captaincy I would be very happy but I am not asking anyone for the job. This is the board's prerogative whatever they want to do."
The board has, however, responded by saying that Younis's offer is too late and that they are happy with the incumbent. "Younis was our first choice as captain but he refused the responsibility," Nasim Ashraf, chairman PCB, told The News. "Now we have appointed Shoaib Malik as our captain till December, 2008 and have complete faith in him which is why there is no need to change the captain," he added.
Ashraf said that Younis is yet to talk to him about his change of heart. "I'm not aware about Younis's comments that he is willing to take up captaincy but even if he is, we already have a captain."