In Defense Of Younis Khan

I’m not quick to disagree with Q (over at Well Pitched) about Pakistani cricket. The man knows his stuff. This post, in part about Pakistan’s long history of captaincy troubles, shows off his knowledge (who knew Javed Miandad had trouble with his young ‘uns?).

But I don’t think the post’s larger argument — that Younis Khan set off this latest bout of problems when he refused the captaincy — makes much sense. Yes, I agree, Khan would have made an excellent captain, or at least had the most compelling prospects for a compelling captaincy. At the same time, however, Q indulges a logical fallacy known as Post hoc, ergo propter hoc — ‘After, therefore because of’. (You can find President Bartlett on The West Wing apply it in another good example here. Yes, I’m a nerd.) My thoughts:

1) Given Pakistan’s tumultuous record, it’s highly dubious Khan’s captaincy would have been spared the drama we’ve come to expect from its team. Q lists all Pakistan’s disputes (stretching back to the 1980s!), but then strangely thinks that Younis Khan would have been an exception. Why? It’s just as likely some other sort of rebellion would have cropped up at some point during his captaincy, leading selectors to pick someone else (and so on).

2) Q argues Khan sparked more problems when he resigned the T20 captaincy. Maybe, but I don’t fault a 33-year-old for putting the reins down in that format.  Ponting, Tendulkar/Dravid, Jayawardene, Strauss (for a time) — all were more than happy to avoid leading their T20 sides. It’s not their generation’s chosen format.

3) Therefore: just because the Malik/Yousuf/Afridi/Butt/Australia troubles came after Khan, it’s not conclusive Khan created them. More likely, it’s the Pakistani team’s strange penchant for revolts and rebellions. I don’t know why this happens among teams, just as I don’t know why the Australians like having captains that outlast English prime ministers. Business executives talk about the need to create a proper management culture, which often takes its cues from decisions made and structures built long before any member of the present generation joins the fray. But somewhere along the line, this sort of behavior became accepted.

So ease up on Khan, Q. In a team that has so many spoiling to be captain, it’s not easy for me to fault the one man who didn’t.

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2 thoughts on “In Defense Of Younis Khan

  1. Samir Chopra says:

    Nice nerdiness, DB! I thought once of tracking the logical fallacies that ex-cricketer commentators indulged in, but gave up once I realized how busy I would be.

  2. sajid says:

    If a bunch of corrupt people (PCB and the players) can not stand Younis Khan, it says a lot about the integrity of Younis. I think same happened to Basit Ali and to an extent to Rashid Latif too.

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