Younis Khan — Pakistan's greatest ever?

Published: June 24, 2015
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Statistically, Younus is at the top of the perch, a mere 238 more runs will take him past Javed Miandad as the highest run-getter. PHOTO: AFP

Statistically, Younus is at the top of the perch, a mere 238 more runs will take him past Javed Miandad as the highest run-getter. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Rarely do Pakistan fans realise the value of their sporting heroes in their playing days. The legacy of Imran Khan, Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan amongst a host of other was perhaps fully understood only once they left their respective sport.

One hopes that starting from today — the 100th Test of Younus Khan — Pakistan’s impassioned cricket fans recognise the talent, resilience, mental strength and the immense contribution that the Mardan-born fortress of batting has made in 15 incredible years since his heroic debut in 2000.

Younus Khan drills one down the ground. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

Statistically, Younus is at the top of the perch, a mere 238 more runs will take him past Javed Miandad as the highest run-getter for the country in the longest format. His staggering tally of centuries (29) is already a Pakistan record.

Throw into the equation his incredible conversion rate (29 centuries and 29 fifties), outstanding fourth-innings returns (the only batsman to score three consecutive fourth innings centuries), batting average (53.71) and a triple-century to boot, even his staunchest detractor is forced to acknowledge that Younus is on the cusp of taking over the mantle of Pakistan’s best ever, if he hasn’t already.

The stats above are a mere selection from his outstanding resume. What perhaps can’t be quantified in numbers is the resilience of the man amid a host of personal tragedies and off-field controversies that Younus has had to endure.

Younus Khan enjoying his time in the nets. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

Last year alone, a depressed Younus was forced to leave Pakistan’s ODI series against Sri Lanka midway after the tragic demise of his nephew. Over the years, the death of his father and the untimely passing away of his siblings have resulted in immense grief and torment.

But after every tragedy, Younus has bounced back with renewed vigour. The 37-year-old is the pivot for his family, and even his neighbours and old friends have Younus’ back in time of adversity. Moreover, the most underrated and unknown acts of the man include numerous charity causes and schools he has built single-handedly.

The straightforward and modest Pashtoon has been at odds with the Pakistan Cricket Board more than once, but luckily the board realises the immense value that his presence at the crease brings to the Test team.

Younus Khan being himself after being dismissed for a single digit. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

The gleam in the eye is still visible as Younus aims to deliver more for the Test team. The recent World Cup might have been a tale of woes, but the Test returns have lifted him to the top of the pile. Pakistan must respect Younus and must celebrate his astounding landmark.

After all, only four out of the 61 players with 100-plus Test caps are from Pakistan — Younus is indeed part of a very select group.

While talking to ESPNcricinfo in an interview Younus Khan said: “It’s like a dream come true because I wished for it. When I started playing cricket only Javed Miandad and Saleem Malik had more than 100 Test [for Pakistan]. I still remember Wasim Akram playing his 100th Test, and also Inzamam-ul-Haq completing his 100th. Becoming the fifth one to do so, it makes me a happy and proud Pakistani.”

Expert opinion: What it means to be Younus?

Former Pakistan wicketkeeper Moin Khan: “Younus has been a thorough professional all his life. His conduct both on and off the field is truly remarkable. In my book Younus is the greatest Pakistan Test batsman ever. He has been a disciplined cricketer throughout his life which has enabled him to play for so long with dignity and honour.”

Former Pakistan wicketkeeper Rashid Latif: “Younus’ impeccable character is exemplary in every sense. He remained a fighter all his life and for him to sustain for so long is truly remarkable. He has always come to the fore whenever Pakistan team has been in trouble which has been a hallmark of his career.”

Former Pakistan batsman Mohsin Khan: “Younus thoroughly deserves this landmark (100 Tests). His record speaks for himself. He has served Pakistan as a great batsman. I hope he will continue to play for another few years. He has been a role model for all youngsters and his discipline has been absolutely tremendous.”

Former Pakistan batsman Aamir Sohail: “Younus has been an excellent servant of Pakistan cricket and it shows that he is playing his 100th test which shows his importance to team. The hallmark has been his tenacity despite the personal tragedies and professional hiccups he has faced throughout his career.”

Pakistan team head coach Waqar Younis: “Younus Khan is simply a legend. Scoring so many Test centuries for Pakistan is no walk in the park. He is an example for all you youngsters watching cricket.”

Australian Test captain Michael Clarke: “Younus is a very good player and has been for a long time. He’s one of the gentlemen of our game, a class player.”

Former Pakistan batsman Basit Ali: “It’s an honour for the entire country. In my opinion only a handful of players have put the country first and Younus is one of them. He might not have been the most talented but his hard work helped overcome all his flaws. I hope that he scales the 10,000 Test runs mark as well.”

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Umar Khalil
    Jun 24, 2015 - 8:29PM

    Due to the ever increasing popularity of T20 cricket world over and specially in Pakistan, Younis Khan has not been appreciated as much as he deserved. He has performed exceptionally well in the toughest form of the game and is a true star..! Proud of this guy.Recommend

  • khan shahzaib
    Jun 24, 2015 - 10:30PM

    He may surpass Javed Miandad as highest run-getter shortly, but comparing Younus with Javed will not be judicious. Younus has been making runs, but at very lesser times, these runs contributed to wins by Pakistan. Moreover, his ability to play under pressure and on pitches other than easy ones is highly questionable. In One-days, his performance has been dismal, especially in World Cups, where his average does not exceed 30 runs. He can be kept in Test team for some time, but his inclusion in ODIs should be out of question…Recommend

  • Fahim
    Jun 25, 2015 - 1:11AM

    With alot of Tests on flat tracks only in Pakistan/UAE and support of his reference this happened. I remember for first 5 years he did nothing when PAkistan use to play all over the worldRecommend

  • FJ
    Jun 25, 2015 - 10:25AM

    Excellent article.
    To me, four of the greatest batsmen to have emerged from Pakistan are Javed, Inzi, Younis, and Yousaf. Out of these four, Inzi has been the most talented, while Younis has been the most hardworking one, albeit his limited abilities as a batsman. In Test cricket, you need effectiveness and perseverance. Therefore, Younis Khan has proven himself to be the greatest test batsman from Pakistan.
    YK; we all love you, and want you to score at least 10,000 runs in Test cricket, if not more. Recommend

  • Burki
    Jun 25, 2015 - 11:49AM

    Merely a feel good article. While YK is no doubt a good middle order batsman but to count him as living legend or greatest ever in Pakistan – that’s stretching the truth far beyond the realms of reality. Most of his big innings have come against minnows/weaklings and playing on the dusty bowls of sub-continents. For too long now, he has been taking his position in the team for granted and doesn’t show much responsibility when playing under pressure. If you look at his track record for most test series, he has the habit of usually playing one good inning in the first test and then usually slide to getting out cheap playing rash shots.Recommend

  • effy
    Jun 25, 2015 - 12:02PM

    Yunis is a very good player, no doubt, but cant compare him with Inzi, Miandad and Yousuf.Recommend

  • Bhutta
    Jun 25, 2015 - 1:27PM

    With a humble average of 31.33 he may not be as consistent as he would have wanted to be in the shorter format (50 overs). But, with a century on test debut, consistency at the International test level, many match wining/saving performances and an average of 53 in the longer format of the game Younis Khan is well on his way to become one of the best if not the best test batsman that Pakistan has ever produced. He is highest century maker for Pakistan and 3rd in the list of highest run getters with Miandad topping the list and inzi at 2nd . A man of his words, hard working and diligent person many young players like Ahmad Shahzad, Umar Akmal should follow him as their role model. Recommend

  • Ibrahim Khan
    Jun 25, 2015 - 2:01PM

    Cricket pitch is small w/ breathing space, you could survive in Whale jaws 4 40days..Recommend

  • fardeen
    Jun 26, 2015 - 12:40AM

    @Burki:
    no kiddo, Younis Khan is third class batsman. I don’t think you’ve ever watched Zaheer Abbas, who was termed the Asian Bradman, or our greatest batsmen ever Hanif Mohammed play. Do research them on Wisden, and you’ll get your facts rightRecommend

  • Shery
    Jun 26, 2015 - 11:26PM

    All of those who are against younis is just jelousy. He is a class cricketerRecommend

  • A Peshawary
    Jun 27, 2015 - 11:06AM

    @effy:
    He cant’ be compared with them on which grounds? Really pathetic. What else he has to prove to be better than them. He was the captain of the team which won only T20 world cup.

    A PeshawaryRecommend

  • Mobeen Zahid
    Jul 8, 2015 - 7:44PM

    All people commenting about how he has not scored in as many test wins, or about how he has only performed on flat tracks in home conditions should go read the stats. Its amazing how people comment without any research. He has the most number of runs in test wins for Pakistan second only to Inzamam and that too because he has played a lesser number of matches. He has the highest average (91.1) in test match wins IN THE WORLD. He has the most number of centuries away from home for Pakistan and the best 50 to hundred conversion rate in test matches away from home in the world. Please do some research before presenting personal opinions as facts. Recommend

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