Always fit as a youngster, sweating in the middle of the field, hair torn but smile on the face, calmly overpowering opponent’s bowling line with his strokes all over the ground. The calmness would remain the same even after scoring a century, or even a double century or triple century, ladies and gentlemen that is Younis Khan for you.
39-year-old Younis has announced that the forthcoming tour to West Indies will be last of his career and he will hang his boots after the three-match Test series against the hosts in Caribbean Islands. With 9977 runs, Younis just needs 23 runs to become first and only Pakistan to score 10,000 runs in the Test cricket.
That is not the only record to his credit, though. He has several such records which no other Pakistani has achieved. He is the only Pakistani batsman to score more than 500 runs more than once in a three-match Test series. It was unfortunate for him that he could not get a series of five Tests in his entire career, something which other legendary Pakistani batsmen managed to get. Yet, his records in bilateral series are better.
Younis Khan has 34 Test centuries to his credit, nine more than any other Pakistani could score in the entire career. Inzamamul Haq is second to Younis in the list with 25 Test scores of three-figures.
In 115 Tests, Younis Khan scored six double centuries, jointly the most with Javed Miandad. The former captain Miandad took 124 matches to do so. Younis Khan is one of only three triple centurions of Pakistan cricket, he was third on the list after Hanif Mohammad and Inzamamul Haq and was later joined by his teammate Azhar Ali.
The master batsman was considered as Pakistan’s backbone in batting. No wonder he has contributions in the most century partnership for Pakistan. Younis Khan contributed in 67 Test partnerships for the country, which is 17 more than Miandad. In worldwide list, he is placed at the 8th position with India’s Rahul Dravid contributing in 88 century partnerships.
List of Younis’ records seem unending, but summing it up, it is worth mentioning that he is the only batsman in the world to score a century in 11 different countries, including the UAE.
His century on debut, 149 vs New Zealand in New Zealand, his performance against India in Bangalore, his performance in series against South Africa and Australia and of course double century at Oval are something no Pakistani cricket fan will ever forget.
And, obviously, who can forget 2009 when he led Pakistan to its only World T20 title.
For Pakistan, Younis Khan always remained an undisputed persona, at least for the fans if not for the cricket board. His love-hate relationship with PCB could not dent his confidence as a performer and he always preferred playing for Pakistan, as a true patriot sportsmen.
Younis Khan’s career was not as smooth as his batting. He had to overcome so much while being in the field. His father passed away when he was on tour to Australia, his brother died when he was in West Indies, another brother passed away when he was away from home. But, Khan never allowed his personal grievances affect his career.
Khan, just like his teammate Misbahul Haq, never preferred to become media’s darling. His relationship with media at times turned bitter. I am a witness of one such event when Younis Khan was returning from a tour and questions asked by some of my colleagues irritated him and he lost his cool. That is understandable.
Younis Khan may not be from league of Shahid Afridis, Misbahul Haqs or any of his teammates or predecessors. He has his own league. A league of selflessness, a league of calmness and a league of dedication.
There might be a huge fan club of Shahid Afridi with an equal number of people who would hate him, there is a big fan club of Misbahul Haq with same numbers of his opponents but for Younis, this doesn’t matter. He is always hungry for runs and for that, he just plays cricket.
He may represent a limited talent, but he proved that with hard work, you can achieve everything. He is leaving a career which should be considered as code of conduct for the future players.
And, he remained unfazed and unchanged despite everything that evolved around him, and that’s what makes him a perfect human being.
Younis Khan is a legend and he deserves huge round of applause. He is the real Khan who fought for Pakistan selflessly and raised Pakistan’s flag. Pakistan team is surely going to miss him and it will not be easy for Pakistan cricket to fill the gap after him.