Pakistan captain fears for future

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Younis Khan said he feared for the future of cricket in the sports-mad country and appealed on the world to prevent youngsters becoming &quot;terrorists.&quot;

Updated: March 07, 2009 13:09 IST
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Pakistan captain Younis Khan said he feared for the future of cricket in the sports-mad country and appealed on the world to prevent youngsters becoming "terrorists."

"Our future as a nation is in our youngsters' hands," Younis said. "What happened on Tuesday is not our fault. Pakistan is already under attack, so don't kill the game in our country, please."

Younis said sport was a route for youngsters to become good human beings.

"Our religion demands us to be good human beings and sport helps to make good human beings," he said.

"If the sport is not there, there would be distractions. We have to be very careful about that. We must not allow kids to become terrorists. We all must do something to stop that happening."

Tuesday's attack in Lahore -- which left eight Pakistanis dead and seven Sri Lankan cricket players and an assistant coach wounded -- has cast serious doubts over Pakistan hosting international cricket in the foreseeable future.

Younis feared that Pakistan, already a no-go zone for international teams over security fears, will be isolated.

"May be in the future we will be alone (as a cricketing nation) and that would be very sad, especially for the youngsters. It is very easy to leave us alone, but I hope it doesn't happen.

"When I was a boy, I loved watching Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram playing against great teams from overseas. It is because of them -- seeing them play -- that I also played the game.

"I could have been distracted. Now I fear what will happen if no one comes to Pakistan? How will the youngsters know about the game? What will they do?"

Younis, who took over as captain last month, urged the cricket world not to let the game die in his country.

"I appeal to all countries and the ICC (International Cricket Council) not let cricket die here. They must think about all the factors. They must think of our youngsters, our future is dependent on the outside world.

"It would be very easy right now for the ICC and the bosses to say there will be no cricket in Pakistan. But the future will not be good if cricket is taken away from my country. We need their help."

Younis, 31, feared for his country.

"This is a very bad time in Pakistan. It feels that everyday we go backwards, not forwards. We have not experienced anything like this before.

"I hope people who matter take quick action. Cricket will be disturbed because players will go to play in Indian leagues, they are worried but they must be taken care of. The game must go on."

Younis praised Sri Lankan players for their bravery.

"Sri Lankan players are very brave. I met the team before they flew home and had dinner with them. They were very sad about what was happening to cricket."

Younis said he looked forward to a day when Pakistan could host Australia, which has not toured here since 1998, but said the chances seemed "difficult right now".

He regretted that Pakistan would not be playing Test matches at home.

"We have to play at neutral venues for the time being. It is sad, how can the youngsters be promoted when they don't see international cricket? But I am happy for the team because they will get some cricket."

Pakistan team departs for Bangladesh Saturday to play five one-day and two Twenty20 games there.

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