Kolkata: A true legend knows when to hang up his boots. Without getting distracted by criticism, he would rather have the conviction of following his instincts. He prefers waiting for the right time to make the all-important announcement. And before embarking on a new journey, he would leave an imprint on the hearts of his fans with a memorable swansong. Cricket, over the years has seen numerous legends who have in their own way brought laurels to the game and long-serving Pakistani batsman Younis Khan, is undoubtedly, one of them. The mainstay of the Pakistani batting unit over the years, the 39-year old former skipper, would hang up his boots right after the three match Test series against the West Indies which begins towards the end of this month.
A career that spanned 17 long years, Younis’ journey in cricket has been nothing short of phenomenal and quite understandably, the veteran batting star wishes to retire with his “head held high.” “I will be retiring… with my head held high,” said the Pakistani legend at a press conference at Karachi yesterday. The right-hander whose sense of timing even made the opposition clap, feels that the ‘timing’ of this decision is also accurate.
“I think this is the right time as every sportsman has to take this decision in his career. I was planning this for a few months. I always tried to play for my team and for my country,” added Younis.
And he assures all that he has made up his mind and wouldn’t reconsider his decision. “People have been calling me and requesting me not to retire. But a time comes in every cricketer’s life when he has to take a decision for the best. I have always wanted to go out on a high,” he said. Younis thus joins skipper Misbah Ul-Haq who would also retire after the Test series against the West Indies.
If one has to describe him, he might as well be called Pakistan’s Rahul Dravid. Much like the latter, The Pakistani Wall, hardly disappointed when his team needed him, but still remained the silent performer in the team. Yes, technically, Dravid was much more accurate, but Younis was no less when it came to notching up big scores when it mattered the most. No wonder he is Pakistan’s highest run getter in Tests.
As a matter of fact, Younis’ highest Test score of 313, is only the third highest Test score by a Pakistani after Hanif Mohammad’s 337 and Inzamam-Ul-Haq’s 329. He also holds a unique record of scoring Test tons in 11 different countries and his 34 Test centuries in 115 matches are equal to the number of Test hundreds by Sunil Gavaskar.
The veteran star feels that age isn’t on his side. However, he is just 23 runs short of scoring 10,000 Test runs which would make him the 13th batsman in the world to score 10,000 or more runs in the game’s longest format.
He said, “I just want to now complete my 10,000 Test runs and go.” Younis was recently named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year for his crucial role in Pakistan’s 2-2 draw against England last year which helped the team climb up to the top of the ICC Test rankings.
Younis, much like other cricketers, has witnessed a lot of ups and downs and has displayed an indomitable spirit in fighting all odds and roaring back to success. One high point of his memorable career would definitely be the T20 World Cup triumph in 2009 where he led a relatively young Pakistan team to the title.
And yet, no one would forget his rock solid batting in Test match cricket. Legends live forever and Younis, will always be remembered as one of the greatest Pakistani batsmen and a true gentleman to have served the game with utmost passion and dedication.
(With inputs from The Hindu)