Younis Khan wants Pakistan to beat Ireland as tribute to Bob Woolmer

Former Pakistan coach died after Ireland’s shock World Cup win in Jamaica in 2007

Younis Khan wants Pakistan to beat Ireland as a tribute to former coach Bob Woolmer, who died the day after Pakistan lost to Ireland at the 2007 World Cup in Jamaica. Photograph:   Nigel Marple/Reuters

Younis Khan wants Pakistan to beat Ireland as a tribute to former coach Bob Woolmer, who died the day after Pakistan lost to Ireland at the 2007 World Cup in Jamaica. Photograph: Nigel Marple/Reuters

 

Pakistan batsman Younis Khan wants his side to put in a big performance in Sunday’s Pool B showdown against Ireland at the Adelaide Oval as a tribute to the national team’s late coach Bob Woolmer.

Former England international Woolmer died the day after Ireland knocked out Pakistan following a stunning three-wicket win in Kingston, Jamaica on St Patrick’s Day 2007.

Although Jamaican police initially opened a murder investigation after Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room, a later inquest returned an open verdict when the jury complained that “the evidence presented to us was very weak”.

Woolmer had taken a keen interest in the development of Irish cricket due to his earlier role as International Cricket Council high-performance manager and was close with the then Ireland coach Adrian Birrell from Woolmer’s time as South Africa coach.

Younis made a three-ball duck as Pakistan were bowled out for 132 at Sabina Park eight years ago and the 37-year-old is keen to make an impact this time in memory of Woolmer.

“Bob contributed a lot to Pakistan cricket and I would love to see us win against Ireland with a big performance from me,” Younis told reporters in Adelaide. “There would be nothing better to dedicate to Bob and also try to win this World Cup for him.”

Younis, however, ruled out any revenge aspect to the clash.

“It is a crucial match for us as you never know what will happen on the points table.”

“Ireland is a side capable of causing an upset. So we are going to take this match very seriously and there is no element of us trying to avenge the 2007 defeat.”

Younis was dropped after scores of six and a duck in the opening two pool B losses to India and West Indies, but came back in the thrilling 290-run victory over South Africa in Auckland when he made 37.

And the gifted right-hander is keen to add a 50-over World Cup to the Twenty20 success in England in 2009, a tournament in which they beat Ireland in the Super Eights stage.

“I was captain when we won the T20 World Cup in 2009 and it really felt good and I just want to now also be part of a team that can win this World Cup.”

To achieve that goal, Pakistan will first have to navigate the final round of matches in Pool B.

South Africa needed to beat the United Arab Emirates in their final game overnight in Wellington to secure their place in the last eight, with Pakistan, Ireland and West Indies battling it out for the other two spots with India having already secured first.

Pakistan and Ireland are both on six points, while West Indies are on four, with a final game to come against the UAE in Napier on Sunday.

Ireland’s poor run rate would see them miss out if they were to lose to Pakistan and the West Indies win, although a rained off match in either of the final two games would see Phil Simmons’s side go through.

One player whose World Cup ended early is Scotland’s most-capped cricketer Majid Haq after he was sent home for a breach of discipline by Cricket Scotland.

The country’s leading wicket-taker took exception to being dropped for Scotland’s 148-run defeat to Sri Lanka in Hobart yesterday.

Born in Scotland and of Pakistani descent, Haq tweeted: “Always tougher when you’re in the minority! #colour #race.”

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has apologised to Ireland all-rounder John Mooney over an article printed in a Zimbabwe newspaper.

Taylor, who will join English county side Nottinghamshire next summer, tweeted: “On behalf of the Zimbabwe cricket team.We just want to express our apologies to @Irelandcricket and John Mooney for the unacceptable article.”

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