One-hundred and seventeen Tests. Ten-thousand and ninty-nine runs at 52.05 Average. Thirty-four centuries, Thirty-three fifties. Younis Khan played his final Test match in Dominica against West Indies in May 2017, a Bona Fide Pakistani cricketing legend. Here’s a look back at his career.
1. The Start
Younis wasted no time making a mark on the big stage, becoming the seventh Pakistani to score a hundred on debut when he made a determined second-innings century in Rawalpindi against Sri Lanka in early 2000. He strung together a 145-run ninth-wicket stand with Wasim Akram, but could not stave off defeat.
2. Overseas heroics
Less than four months later, Younis had his first away century, against Sri Lanka in Galle. But he really made world cricket sit up in Auckland in March 2001, when he followed a blunting 91 in alien conditions with a punishing 149 not out in Pakistan’s crushing 299-run win against New Zealand.
3. Landmark alert
Younis’ first 150-plus score helped fashion a 244-run win for Pakistan: he made 153 and put on a 190-run stand with (opener) Shahid Afridi in the team’s score of 472, against West Indies in Sharjah in February 2002.
4. Breaking the 200 barrier
The first double-hundred, and it was a big one: 267 against India in Bangalore in March 2005. Unsurprisingly, the knock claimed a series-leveling win for Pakistan, and the Man-of-the-Match award for Younis.
5. The nervous 190s
How would you feel if you fell 10 short of 200? How would you feel if it happened twice in two Tests? Younis would know; twice he passed 100 in the series against India in early 2006, twice he fell agonisingly short of 200 – quite literally too in Lahore, run out on 199 despite a desperate dive, after a mix-up with Shahid Afridi.
6. Conquering South Africa
At 92 for 5 chasing 191 in Port Elizabeth in January 2007, the batsmen were in danger of undoing all the good work of the bowlers. Younis allayed fears with an unbeaten 67 in an unbroken 99-run stand with Kamran Akmal to take his team to a famous win.
7. A different innings
There are part-time bowlers, and then there is Younis Khan. But he has had his moments with the ball, with nine wickets from 31 innings. His bowling high came against Sri Lanka in Galle in July 2009, when he picked up a match haul of four – two in each innings with his needling medium-pace.
8. Fortunes reversed
Younis’ experience with the ball was not quite as rewarding back in 2001, against New Zealand in Hamilton, when Craig McMillan tucked into his legspin with glee. Four, four, four, four, six, four, including a reverse paddle and two reverse pulls, and McMillan had hit himself into the record books with the most runs in a Test over at the time.
9. No slippery customer
Consistently one of Pakistan’s safest men in the cordon, Younis tops their catching charts with 138 going into his final Test – the only non-wicketkeeper with over a hundred catches for the team.
10. Down and out
Younis’ time as captain was anything but smooth. He led in nine of his 99 Tests, winning just one of them, against India in Karachi in 2006. Five of his Tests in charge came in 2009, a stint that ended with Younis resigning from his post, saying that he had “lost command” over the side.
11. Controversy central
Chaos ensued, as the PCB decided Younis would not play for an unspecified period following Pakistan’s poor run on the field and the infighting off it.
12. The strong comeback
For more than a year Younis was sidelined, but he showed his trademark grit in his first Test on comeback, making an unbeaten second-innings 131 to help Pakistan draw against South Africa in Dubai.
13. 300 and counting
Younis’ highest innings total came in the last completed Test played in Pakistan to date: the Karachi match in February 2009, a week before that fateful day in Lahore. If the hosts were anxious after Sri Lanka posted 644, Younis calmed nerves with his 313, lifting them to 765 and safety.
14. No letting up
Pakistan were 2-0 up against No. 1-ranked England, but were on uncertain ground in the final Test of the series in the UAE in early 2012. After being routed for 99 and bowling England out for 141, they lost two early wickets the second time around. Enter Younis. Cue a century. Whitewash complete.
15. Australia schooled
England conquered, now it was time to see off Australia. Younis’ first-innings 213 and second-innings 46 meant a deflated Australia – already 0-1 down in the two-match series in the UAE were left with a target of 603, and they understandably fell woefully short. The Man of the Series? Guess who.
16. 100 Tests of Younis
In June 2015, against Sri Lanka in Colombo, he got to the landmark, joining a club of five for his country. The other members: Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim Akram, Saleem Malik.
17. A summer to remember
No gently fading away for this great. His last full year in cricket, 2016, featured his sixth 200-plus score in Tests, equalling Javed Miandad’s record for Pakistan. And this 218 was series-defining, coming at The Oval, in a victory that helped his team secure a famous series draw against England.
18. Still fit, still fighting:
In his very next Test innings, triple digits were reached once again, against West Indies in the UAE. A couple of half-centuries and few months on, the new year was welcomed with a typically gutsy ton in Sydney, a first century in Australia, 175 runs in a total of 315 in a losing cause.
19. A fitting finale:
A day after he announced the series against West Indies would be his last, on April 23 2017, Younis Khan, 39, became the first Pakistani to 10,000 Test runs. He would finish their leading run-scorer by over 1000 runs, with nine tons more than their second-best century-maker, and an average only behind Miandad. Take a bow, Younis.