Veteran Pakistan batsman and former captain Younus Khan announced on Saturday he will retire from international cricket after the upcoming Test series in the West Indies.
"I will be retiring... with my head held high," the 39-year-old told a press conference in Karachi. "I think this is the right time as every sportsman has to take this decision in his career."
Younus, who has captained Pakistan in all three formats and led them to their only World T20 title in England in 2009, needs only 23 runs to reach 10,000 Test runs.
Misbah, Younus on Wisden’s ‘Cricketers of the Year’ list
He missed out on hitting the milestone after his team's disastrous tour of Australia in January, where Pakistan lost all three Tests.
Younus has so far scored 34 Test centuries in 115 matches — the most by any Pakistani batsman — and is set to become the first Pakistani and 13th batsman in the world to score 10,000 or more runs. India's Sachin Tendulkar currently tops the charts with 15,921 runs in 200 matches.
Younus is the second high-profile player to retire this month after his team mate and Pakistan Test captain Misbahul Haq also announced his decision to quit on Thursday following months of speculation.
The pair have formed the nucleus of Pakistan's batting in the last seven years and helped their team square a crucial Test series 2-2 in England last year. When asked about the effect his and Misbah’s retirement will have on the Test team, Younus said that youngsters always take hold of the reins.
“Whenever big names leave the team, everyone asks who will lead the team now,” explained Younus. “But life goes on. When I came in the national side, there were a lot of stars already present and I used to think that what will happen when they leave. But I led a young side to World T20 and they won it with me. So, whenever old cricketers leave, new ones do take their place.”
On Wednesday the two stalwarts were named in Wisden's best cricketers of the year 2017, following their performances on the England tour after which Pakistan briefly rose to number one in Test rankings for the first time.
Younus hit a hundred in his first Test against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi in 2000, which started a glorious career during which he also scored a double hundred in Pakistan's series-levelling win against India at Bangalore in 2005.
"I was planning this for few months," he said of his decision to quit. "I always tried to play for my team and for my country."
‘Sarfraz next best choice’
Younus backed Pakistan’s limited-overs captain Sarfraz Ahmed to become the Test captain after Misbah leaves the helm.
Misbahul Haq announces retirement from international cricket
“Sarfraz can be the game-changer for Pakistan. He has the chance to take Pakistan cricket to the next level,” said Younus. “Sarfraz is the automatic and best choice to lead Pakistan in Tests.”
The West Indies Test series will start in Jamaica from April 21 followed by Tests in Barbados and Dominica.
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