Yousuf to captain Pak in NZ as Younis takes a break


"That is why the board has decided to appoint Yousuf as captain and wicketkeeper, Kamran Akmal as vice captain for the test tour," a Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman said.

Pakistan start the first Test in New Zealand on November 24. The change in captaincy comes after Pakistan lost a one-day series to New Zealand in Abu Dhabi this week amid growing criticism of Younis's poor batting form and local media reports suggesting he had lost the confidence of his team mates.

He survived a revolt after the Champions Trophy in October when a group of senior players complained to board chairman Ejaz Butt about his attitude towards them. But the board rejected their demands and would not accept Younis's resignation, asking him to continue as captain until the next World Cup in 2011.

However, on Wednesday Butt told the Geo Super television channel: "Younis has taken the correct decision at this time to take a break from international cricket. "The decision to appoint Yousuf as captain for the New Zealand series has been taken in the best interests of Pakistan cricket."

Butt also said he had made it clear Younis would remain captain as long as he retained form and fitness. Younis has had a poor run of form since the Champions Trophy, with low scores in three one-day internationals to add to the pressure on his captaincy.

Yousuf, 35, is the most senior player in the team having played 82 Tests and 278 one-day internationals. He rejoined the Pakistan team on the test tour of Sri Lanka in July-August after having resigned from the rebel Indian Cricket League in which he played for one season.

Former Pakistan player and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said the board should appoint Yousuf as skipper on a long-term basis. "He is a very senior and respected player in the side and it is unfair to name him captain for one series only. I think it is best if Younis first regain his form and place in the team," he said. "It becomes difficult for a captain to infuse a fighting spirit in the team he loses confidence of his players.”

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