Younus Khan’s retirement from ODIs just hours before the start of the first 50-over match against England in Abu Dhabi has left many in a spin, with cricket pundits questioning the timing of the decision.
The veteran’s retirement was always on the cards once he was selected in the ODI squad against England, but the sudden declaration took everyone off guard, with many voicing their displeasure at the abrupt nature of the decision.
Former captain Rashid Latif, who has seen Younus grow from a struggling young cricketer into a formidable force to reckon with, said the announcement was entirely unexpected. “I was expecting him to step down midway through the [England] series, but this development came out of the blue,” Latif told The Express Tribune. “In my view, he should have said goodbye to ODIs back in 2014, but it was his decision to continue.”
Younus Khan retires from one-day international cricket
Another former cricketer, Basit Ali, also termed the timing unfavourable. “Younus is a cricket icon and he should have realised that his ill-timed decision would set the wrong precedent,” said Basit. “I think he should have retired at the end of this series.”
Legendary batsman and former captain Javed Miandad, who was recently replaced by Younus as Pakistan’s highest scorer in Tests, said that only the batsman himself could explain the decision. “It’s kind of shocking that he has decided to retire in this manner, but I think that only Younus can explain why he did so,” said Miandad.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan said that Younus has served Pakistan well and it would have been better had he retired at the end of the four-match series.
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Wednesday’s game was Younus’ 265th ODI, nearly 16 years after making his debut against Sri Lanka in Karachi in February 2000.
The batsman had retired from Twenty20 cricket after leading Pakistan to the World Twenty20 title in England in 2009.
Dropped from the one-day team against Australia last year, Younus smashed a total of 468 in the 2-0 Test win against Australia, a performance that all but forced the selectors to recall him to the one-day team.
But he failed miserably in the 2015 World Cup, managing six, nought and 37 in the three matches he played before being dropped again.
I had consulted with those close to me: Younus
Younus Khan set to call it quits in One-Day cricket: report
Younus explained he had consulted with those close to him before reaching the decision.
“I am proud to announce that after playing for Pakistan for 15 years I am announcing my retirement. I consulted with my close friends and family members before taking this decision,” said Younus in a statement.
“As a batsman I played a positive role in the team’s wins in one-day cricket and now I realise that it’s time to keep myself away from limited-overs cricket.“I hope that the young player who takes my place will keep the traditions which I have set on never compromising over discipline and fitness. I thank all my teammates and team management for their cooperation throughout my career,” said Younus, who will continue to play Test cricket.
“It’s always a tough decision for a player to retire. I played my cricket with sincerity and discipline and see Pakistan’s future as bright and am sure that youngsters can fill in.
“Pakistan became world champions in the past and still has the capacity to become champions of the world again.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2015.
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