I didn’t always like Younis Khan. There was an ugliness to his batting and he scored far too much against India. Then Pakistan and India stopped playing each other, Younis stopped making runs, still he smiled. Then Pakistan stopped playing altogether, still he smiled. Then Pakistan started playing, Younis didn’t make many runs, still he smiled.
The exact sequence of events is a mere approximation, but it is true, Younis smiled through it all. He captained them to the T20 World Cup, and then walked away from T20 cricket itself. It is not clear whether Dravid got into his ear, or for that matter in Graeme Smith’s ear, but to win and call it quits, it takes a deep rooted understanding of sport’s greatest clichés – quit when on top. Explains why Sachin goes away every few months, he’s on top, gotta sustain it.
But this is about Younis. It’s mind boggling that Pak plays test cricket and he does not. If Shoaib Malik can be given a second chance, we should even revisit bodyline.
As for Younis, he’s had it far from easy; in his young life he had already lost many of his family, guess that smile is one way of staying sane. And then to contend with Pakistan cricket.
For me, he’s always been their man at 3 – 12 of his 16 centuries are at that position, in those 12, there’s a double, a triple, and a score of 199.
Instead, Pak have found in a debutant, Wahab Riaz, a number three batsman. Sure he came in as a nightwatchman, but 27 runs, accumulated over close to two hours, that’s more than all their No 3 suitors have batted collectively.
Lest we forget, Younis averages over 50, both at 3, and in his career. At three, he’s a few more decimal points than his career average. For someone as fickle as Ijaz Butt, and his band of hoodlums, if anything those decimal points could make the difference, as they refuse to see the larger picture.
But for Younis to return, Pakistan must lose to England at the Oval and at Lord’s, and Butt must sustain his poor form. The cyclical nature of Pak cricket will continue, and by next year, I will be captain, playing my first test for Pakistan.
On Bored: A day in the life of Younis Khan