Younis Khan – The ageing gem Pakistani cricket needs to respect, protect
Turmoil is a word, which could be the perfect synonym for Pakistan cricket. The country has been marred with controversies over the years, and the way cricket is run by its officials, the decline of its cricket team over the years, is not at all surprising. Despite having some world class players available for selection, the management flabbergasts best of the cricket pundits with their decisions. One of them was to demote the contract of veteran cricketer Younis Khan, and also give an impression that he wasn't in the scheme of things for the forthcoming ICC World Cup.
Younis Khan, who has been a relentless fighter for Pakistan over the years, was not even sure whether he would play the two-match Test series against Australia. While treating a senior pro in this manner was nothing new in Pakistan cricket, with the ICC World Cup scheduled to be played in February next year, it was obviously a major blow for the 36-year-old.
But like he has done on numerous occasions in the past, Younis decided to play for the country and let his bat do the talking. The staunchest Pakistani supporters wouldn't have imagined that Younis will go on to score a heap of runs. When he scored a century in the first innings of the first Test, the stylish right-hander became the only Pakistani batsmen to score a century against all Test playing nations. He followed it with two more superb knocks, and while doing so, also surpassed Inzamam-ul-Haq's record for maximum Test centuries (24) for Pakistan.
Unperturbed with the way he was treated, Younis made sure he resurrected the Pakistani innings every now and then. In the first Test, he helped Pakistan recover from 7/2 to 219/4 at the close of first day’s play. Every time the openers failed, Younis used his massive experience to stabilise the innings.
With his 27th century, Younis became only the second batsmen in the history of Test cricket to score three consecutive hundreds against Australia. The only player before him to do so was England’s Herbert Sutcliffe in the 1924-25 series in Australia.
In the Test series against Australia, whenever Younis came to the crease, the uneasiness on the faces of the Aussies was clearly visible. Despite having a world class pace attack, Michael Clarke and his boys knew there was no scope to rest unless Younis was dismissed. And their worst fears came true when the veteran Pakistani batsman played back-to-back scintillating knocks, as a result of which the Aussies were seen chasing leather throughout the series.
Prior to the series, one wasn't sure if Younis will play. After the series, he was being hailed as Pakistan's greatest fighter ever.
Even though the current Pakistani squad has some outstanding cricketers, they clearly lack experienced campaigners. He might have had a poor run in the ODIs of late, but Pakistani team management needs to consider Younis as an integral part of the team for the forthcoming World Cup.
The man, who once scored a century against India with a broken finger, can for sure do wonders for his country only if he is given the respect he truly deserves.