Younus for South Asian alliance

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Younus Khan said he will ask his South Asian counterparts to form an alliance to defend their common interests, when the captains meet at the Twenty20 World Cup in June.

Khan said he would make the appeal when he meets India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and Bangladesh's Mohammad Ashraful at the tournament starting in England on June 5.

"I will definitely meet (them) on the sidelines of T20 World Cup in England and tell them that we need to join hands, as the situation in all four countries is not good, so we must stand up for each other," Younus told AFP.

Pakistan has become a "no go" area for international teams, who have refused to tour the troubled country over security concerns, a development which Khan believed would harm the sport.

"The Asian countries will have to plan together, and stand up for each other in difficult times, otherwise cricket matches will not take place in our part of the world," said Younus.

Pakistan's reputation as a cricket venue was further dented by last month's terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, in which injured seven players and their assistant coach were injured and eight policemen killed.

The attack prompted the International Cricket Council to strip Pakistan of its matches in the 2011 World Cup, which it was to co-host with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Khan said that he felt "very, very guilty" about the attacks on the Sri Lankans in Lahore.

"We are Muslims and we always look after our friends. It is in our blood if anyone visits us, even if it is our enemy," Khan said.

"I told Mahela (Jayawardene) we should have been together and we could have looked after each other."

Younus also lamented the fact that Pakistan had now been deprived of home-ground advantage, having to play all their international matches either away or at neutral venues.

"It's unfortunate that we are not playing in Pakistan," said Younus, whose team is currently trailing Australia in their limited overs series in the United Arab Emirates.

Australia, who refused to play the series in Pakistan, lead the five-match one-day series 2-1, with the fourth match to be played in Abu Dhabi Friday.

Younus also said it was important for world cricket that India played Pakistan, and attributed his own success as a cricketer to playing against his country's neighbour.

However, India-Pakistan matches were now in jeopardy, after India cancelled its January tour of Pakistan following the Mumbai terror attacks in late November.

"Whatever fame and name I have earned is primarily after my performance against India in 2005," said Younus, referring to the tour on which he scored a century in the second Test and a career-best 267 in the third.

"Whether I am there or not (is not important), but it is important for the generations to come that both Pakistan and India play," he said.

"I am not a politician nor am I an ambassador but I will try to play my part" to make this happen."