Younis Khan’s retirement will see one of the last true greats of the last 20-years leave the game, and perhaps the most undervalued and underrated.
Pakistan’s leading Test run-scorer is rarely mentioned in the company of other legends, unfairly.
He’s not got the flair of Brian Lara, so he doesn’t get bums on seats.
He doesn’t have the signature shots of Ricky Ponting, that make you watch hours of footage.
Nor does he have the technique of Rahul Dravid, that coaches study to pass on to the next generation.
Younis is scrappy, hap-hazard, and unorthodox. But what got him through so many innings has been his mind.
His feet might not have been moving.
Maybe he played a missed a few times.
Maybe he nearly ran three of his partners out in a twenty minute period.
It didn’t matter. Push through, and if there’s a landmark to reach, it’s all the more frustrating for a fielding side when he gets there, having given chances.
In some respects, Younis’s game-plan was to lure oppositions into a false sense of security.
He made them think that they could get him out because of the holes in his technique.
It was a clever ploy, and allowed him to be the perfect decoy to other Pakistani greats who were more flamboyant, or perhaps technically sound.
At one end, you had Younis jumping around and flapping outside off stump, and the other end, such greats like Mohammed Yousuf, caressing the ball effortlessly, or Inzamam Ul Haq, and in more recent times, Misbah, crashing the ball to the boundary.
He is the scrappy supplement to aesthetically pleasing batting, but this isn’t meant to be patronising. Nor, is it meant to imply he only had success because of others.
Ahead of the West Indies series, he averages 53 in over 115 Tests, which is phenomenal. Indeed it’s ’s a higher average than Inzamam (50) and Yousuf (52).
Currently, he stands on 9977 Test runs, which means bar a rotten series’, he should become the first Pakistani to reach the historic 10,000 mark.
Younis will also go down as having an exceptional conversion rate and therefore reliability. He scored 34 centuries and 32 fifties. Not many batsmen retire with more hundreds than fifties. Sachin had 51 tons to 68 fifties, Kallis 45 to 58, 41 to 62, and so on. But not only that, on 19 occasions his tons have been in a wining cause.
He scores important runs, and no more so was this apparent in the U.A.E, away from home. In 27 Tests in the U.A.E. Younis cracked 11 centuries and seven fifties.
Oh, and he scored a ton in 11 countries, which is an incredible feat.
All-in-all, Pakistan are going to lose a character.
They are going to lose their leading run scorer, possibly their best ever and most reliable performer.
He, alongside Misbah, will leave a gaping hole in the side, and for international cricket, one of the last true modern greats of a generation will depart.