Why Younis Khan is king
Can anyone now claim that Younis Khan is not one of the best batsmen out there?
The Pakistan - England Test series finally witnessed a century, and it came from none other than the most reliable batsmen out there - Younis Khan.
I had been waiting for a Younis Khan century throughout the series and last week, he made it happen. Younis’ performance was most satisfying because I had been anticipating it for some time and to top it off, I was at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium to witness it.
I don't remember a Test series that Pakistan has played that has not involved a match-winning or match-saving century by Younis. Calls to drop Younis from the Test squad prior to the series are almost unbelievable! Younis and Azhar Ali have all but batted England out of the game. The lead that Pakistan have right now is more than enough to give Pakistan the whitewash that they have been dreaming of. Think about it; out of the five England innings in this series so far, they have crossed 200 only once. I have serious doubts that they will do it again.
Take a look at what Younis has done in Tests for Pakistan over the last five to six years:
I could go all the way back to the start of his career, when Younis cracked a debut Test century against Sri Lanka, but this table ends at England's tour of Pakistan at the end of 2005. This 'home' series against England brings the whole analysis full circle while also putting things in perspective with regards to the last time Younis failed in a Test series.
He hasn't played as much as Sachin, Kallis, Dravid, or Ponting but he is right at the top of the pile in terms of batting average for Tests played since November 2005. Imagine what his numbers would look like if Pakistan played as much Test cricket as India, Australia, and South Africa - or if he wasn't out of the team for almost 18 months due to an ego clash with Ijaz Butt!
It is no surprise to me then that Michael Atherton said what he did after the end of play:
He (Younis) is one of the giants of the game. You talk about Sachin, Ponting, Kallis and Dravid. He (Younis) averages over 50 with a triple 100 and couple of double 100's, He is right up there with them.
It is unfortunate that in a Test career spanning 12 years, Younis has played only 76 Test matches. If you take a look at where these batting greats stood after their first 76 test matches, the statistics paint a startling picture.
Can anyone now claim that Younis is not one of the best batsmen out there?
At this stage of his career, no one besides Rahul Dravid had more runs than Younis. There is a big difference between the averages of Younis and the rest, however after 76 tests Ponting had the same number of Test centuries as Younis has now, with only Sachin ahead of the pack.
It is tragic that we will never know what Younis Khan could have achieved had he played as much as Sachin, Dravid, Ponting, and Kallis.
I salute the true King Khan - Younis Khan!
This post was originally published here.