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The ball is pitched well outside off stump, but the long arms of Younis Khan reach for it as he sweeps Nathon Lyon towards deep backward square leg for four runs.

The bat swing makes an immaculate semi-circle, while his back leg is securely planted inside the crease.

It is like an architect using his pencil compass while designing the blue print of a masterpiece.

For Younis, it is just bread and butter.

The boundary brings up Younis’s first hundred in Australia, as he becomes the only man in history to score a Test century in eleven different countries.

He takes his helmet off and hugs his partner Sarfraz Ahmed. He points his bat to his team in the balcony and then to the crowd.

His son is animated in celebration as his wife claps from the stands.

He rushes back towards the keeper, kneels on one leg and takes his gloves off. He carries a handkerchief in his pocket to wipe the sweat off his face, arms and hands.

It seems he is pushing the reset button.

There are no dramatic celebrations, or prostration on ground. Younis knows that his country needs him to carry on, and you can tell that he means business. He knows his responsibility, and his job is far from over.

Younis being Younis, he underplays his achievement as he puts his helmet back on and is ready to face the next delivery without further ado.

What he has done is no mean feat. He had long been in the company of the best in the business of scoring hundreds around the world, but now he sits on top of that pyramid.

Only Rahul Dravid, Alastair Cook and Sir Don Bardman have scored a hundred in every country they have played in. But none of them had the opportunity to play Test cricket in 11 different countries.

Sri Lankan legends Kumar Sangakara and Mahela Jayawardene played in all eleven countries, but missed out on a ton in West Indies and South Africa respectively. On his first outing in South Africa, Mahela perished on 98, and he never crossed fifty again in the next fifteen innings in the country.

The big surprises are Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Hashim Amla who have not been able score a hundred in five out of the eleven countries of play. While Shiv has ended his career, Amla still has time to make amends.

The moment when Younis makes history:

Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, arguably the greatest batsmen of their generation, were also not able to get to triple digits in all of the Test playing nations. Lara scored two fifties in India, and came perilously close when he was caught behind on 91. Sachin too crossed the half way mark twice in Zimbabwe, but failed to convert.

The mark of a great player is conversion. When their eye is set, they get a big one. The hunger, the patience, the calmness and tranquility they display on a slow afternoon session are beyond that of an average player. It is what separates the men from the boys. When set, they seem impossible to dislodge.

As the great Sunil Gavaskar says, when you get to a hundred, always take a fresh guard. Reset the odometer and concentrate as if you have just arrived.

And every time the man from Mardan goes past 50, odds are he will go past 100, truly Bradman-esque.

Baring the Don, Younis is also more likely to score a hundred than any other batsman.

One of the first things checked when judging a player, is his ability to perform in all conditions, circumstances, and against all oppositions. But no matter how great a cricketer, there is almost always an Achilles heel to his story.

For all of Shane Warne’s greatness, his visits to India usually brought him misery. And Mutiiah Muralitharan’s magic never worked in Australia. Even the legend Sachin Tendulkar is accused of having a below par 4th innings average.

Younis too has his follies with his lack of footwork against genuine pace and lateral movement. And then there are those days when he jumps like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Usually, all that Younis needs to do is spend some time at the crease. Once he gets his balance right, everything else falls in place.

Younis also has the highest number of catches for Pakistan and boasts the highest average of any Pakistani batsman ever. Apart from Bradman, he is the only batsman on the lists above with a career average of over 50 in all four innings of Test cricket. And he has more fourth inning centuries than anyone ever.

His statistics are staggering. Yet, his real legacy is beyond numbers.

He is a true patriot at heart, and one of the few gentlemen in modern day cricket who walk before the umpire raises his finger.

He has been a role model for an entire generation of young Pakistani batsman. Especially Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali, who have a combined total of 4050 runs, at an average of 64 runs in partnership, with a hundred run stand 14 times with their mentor.

The morning of day 3 was washed out and Younis walked out to bat with Yasir Shah in the afternoon session. Pakistan needed 67 runs to avoid following on. And Younis being Younis shepherded Shah like he has done with so many before.

Refusing singles early in the over, and taking them late. Hitting massive sixes and trademark cover drives. The ninth wicket partnership added of 51 runs and lasted an equally important 66 minutes.

When the last wicket went down, Younis was standing tall on 175 at the non-strikers end. Only 36 runs short for the magical 10,000 run mark. But knowing Younis, there must have been more important things on his mind.

A win for Pakistan is almost impossible, but Younis has given his country a chance to draw the game.

Pakistan is on a consecutive losing streak of five Test matches, and has never lost six in a row in its entire history.

There are chances that it will rain in Sydney tomorrow. But there are also high chances that Younis will be back at the crease within the next 24 hours, trying to save Pakistan again. Maybe even later in the day today.

Can Younis be Younis, one more time for his country?


Who do you think is Pakistan's greatest Test batsman? Share your thoughts at blog@dawn.com


Author Image

Shaan Agha grew up in a home with sports as its religion and “The Cricketer” subscription of black and white pages as holy script.

He resides in Istanbul and can be reached here.


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (44) Closed



Adnan AziZ Jan 06, 2017 01:09pm

For God's sake do not shower such praise over someone for an isolated performance. Had younus been out for a smaller number of runs, he would have been written off. Please stay in limits when commenting on performance of players and for that matter on anyone else.

Danish Jan 06, 2017 01:59pm

Inshallah we will beat Aus in this test match

Syed Chishti Jan 06, 2017 02:11pm

Truly the best batsman Pakistan ever produced. Thank you sir for a very well written article gives appropriate credit and respect due to this hero of Pakistan.

umair aslam Jan 06, 2017 02:25pm

I rate younis khan as one of the greatest after Javaid Miandad. No name comes closer to what Younis has achived for Pakistan..

Great Sportsman....

Dr. SalariA, Aamir Ahmad Jan 06, 2017 02:38pm

He is for sure, one of the best cricketers of my generation. Apart from being an outstanding player, he is also a gem of a human being, cordial in nature and down to earth person, a trait not so common among top class cricketers of the world.

My message to Younis Khan at this crucial juncture in time and history is to "keep it up and hang on tough." May God Almighty bless him and his loved ones. Aameen, Tsum Aameen.

Sovereign Jan 06, 2017 02:40pm

No way. He has already scored a century.

ag babar Jan 06, 2017 02:45pm

@Adnan , pls do not dis respect our legend.

FAREED HUSSAIN Jan 06, 2017 03:01pm

dont even think of: all his innings are selfish, he only plays for records. after losing two test matches with little scores he could manage over a 100 in 5th innings after the confirmation that Pakistan has lost the series under Misbah. Tell me a single match that he has helped Pakistan win with his batting

Moid Jan 06, 2017 03:08pm

@ADNAN AZIZ Younis is a Pakistani Legend and his stats speak louder than any comments you ever make in life. You non-contributing zero!

Dawn Jan 06, 2017 03:58pm

@Adnan AziZ -an isolated performance? I suggest you read up on his achievements on the field before you make another comment. Yes at 36 it is time for the great to hang up the gloves but he will be known as one of the great.

Sardar Jan 06, 2017 04:02pm

When u know u won't achieve for what u have been sent, start showing some other achievements

Shams Jan 06, 2017 05:34pm

Beautifully written. Thanks for putting together such statistics in a such quick time. No matter what anyone says, his achievements are great.

Vazir Jan 06, 2017 05:50pm

Writer missed a key stat: out of the 34 centuries scored by Younus Khan, how many were match winning performances?

Zealot Jan 06, 2017 05:59pm

The answer is NO

Asad qureshi Jan 06, 2017 06:07pm

Some of the comments tell how jealous we are of our compatriots who perform. Also Younis Khan MOM in Test 10 times not 8 see the link below for verification http://www.howstat.com.au/Cricket/Statistics/Players/ManOfMatch2.asp?PlayerId=2211

Ace Jan 06, 2017 06:40pm

YK is a long term liability of Pakistan cricket. Hopefully he will retire as soon as possible.

Yasser Jan 06, 2017 06:56pm

@Adnan AziZ I do not fully agree with your comments. I was of the same view until I saw the records quoted in this article. I think he does deserve praise for what he has achieved over the years. Who knows what he would have achieved if Pakistan played at home, remember there has been no international cricket in Pakistan since 2009. All of the century scorers (ignoring Younis) above have thrived in their home conditions and scored most centuries at home. Younis the great. As you can see I have now changed my view!! Good article by the way.

MNKhan Jan 06, 2017 07:43pm

I rate him higher than inzi and yousuf

He has proved how you can maxumise limited talent with hard work, commitment and selflessness.

Great fielder, wonderful person. Would have been the most successful captain if team politics had not played its part

My biggest beef with him is his innings in WC 2011 semi, he was capable of winning it for us but he succumbed to pressure

Personally i feel he should say good bye

arshad patel Jan 06, 2017 08:06pm

Younis will hit double century....Pakistan winning the test by two wickets!!!

Og Jan 06, 2017 08:14pm

@Dawn He is 40 years old legend

byju Jan 06, 2017 08:11pm

perform when it matters, that is what counts. all such records are incidental. like in case of dravid, he had always performed when it mattered. if yunus khan can save the match the his century will certainly be its weight in gold.

Pak Patriot Jan 06, 2017 08:19pm

It appears that the batting of the whole team in Australia is revolving and relying on Azhar Ali and Younus Khan, as Misbah has lost his touch. The other batsmen should be held accountable on their failure. Since it remotely does not look like we will win / draw the third test, I find it very unfair of Misbah not to allow Younus to complete another 25 or so runs to complete his Double Hundred.

Saad Jan 06, 2017 08:44pm

More people have scored centuries in all countries they played in than the 3 mentioned above. Brothers Hanif and Mushtaq Mohammad are 2 examples

Akash Jan 06, 2017 09:23pm

Daunting task

a Jan 06, 2017 09:31pm

@umair aslam Stats aside, the best batsmen , in order, to come out of Pakistan were Yousuf Youhana and Basit Ali.

PakCanuck Jan 06, 2017 09:33pm

Looking at the stats, it is worth pointing out that except for Younis, all have scored more %age of their centuries at their home country.

aamir ayub Jan 06, 2017 10:31pm

Well done Younus Khan. But it is individual achievement . Younus must not be happy because his team is at the brink to face whitewash as his performance could not safe team from the defeat

Amir Jan 06, 2017 11:36pm

No

Waseem Jan 07, 2017 12:37am

What have our standard of cricket gotten too? Australians come in wack the ball around and score a century in one session where as our Tuk Tuks take 2 days and celebrate like they have achieved a milestone.... Todays cricket has become very competitive.. Scoring centuries for some well in form batsman is like score 50 runs.... Pakistan needs to raise their Bar a little bit... This is not the 80's or 90's cricket anymore.. The pitch is this test is totally a batting pitch and Australians have proven it time and time again.

Dawn Jan 07, 2017 12:49am

@Og thank you, i stand corrected.

Dawn Jan 07, 2017 12:54am

@Saad comparing apples and oranges. Yes Hanif was great but in a different time period.

UA Jan 07, 2017 01:26am

@Vazir He has 10 player of the match awards in 115 test matches. That should give you some idea. For comparison, Inzi has nine in 120 tests while Miandad has has five in 124. http://stats.espncricinfo.com/wi/content/records/283704.html Also, who says a century must be in a winning cause to be great. Azhar got a double ton in Melbourne last match. Asad got 137 in the Brisbane test. It wasn't even a daddy hundred but it was still a great knock. We lost both matches. Sachin scored the first ODI double ton in a losing cause. Hanif played the longest test match innings to draw against the Windies. Are none of those knocks great in your opinion?

AXH Jan 07, 2017 04:35am

It is not just up to Younus, it is also the responsibility of other batsmen to contribute. He may be able to grind in but if the others keep getting out then there will be of no use. So far, there are 73/3 and the chances of a draw look very bleak if not impossible.

Dawn Jan 07, 2017 06:25am

No one can save this team but, Younis gave them a little something to hang onto.

absy Jan 07, 2017 07:01am

@Adnan AziZ isloated performance? dude, have you looked at his stats? I don't know what your smoking, but 34 100s is NOT an isolated performance.

Sheikh Jan 07, 2017 07:06am

No

tanvi Jan 07, 2017 07:58am

The answer is NO. This team is heading for 3-0 whitewash!and will be bottom of test rankings! God save pak team ! Spineless and shameless!

Peace Jan 07, 2017 09:48am

AUS whitewashed Pak 3-0.

Fud Jan 07, 2017 10:03am

No it is a 3rd class team.

Waseem Jan 07, 2017 11:06am

How many times his century led Pakistan to win?

d.k.pamnanI Jan 07, 2017 11:38am

He could not save Pakistan. is there any player now who can save Pakistan in future games.

Salman Jan 08, 2017 11:25am

Guess not!

k p rao chennai Jan 08, 2017 11:45am

Good PR article in favour of Younis.

Rohit Singh Jan 08, 2017 04:41pm

He does score run but not on a consistent basis. When anyone watches him for the first time would think he wont last long at this level but he somehow manges to produce big innings. Dont think Pak produced as good a player as Saeed Anwar or Yousuf.