KARACHI: Seldom have we waited for a sporting milestone with such eagerness, and anxiety, as we did for master batsman Younis Khan to complete 10,000 runs in Test cricket at the start of his farewell journey.
The Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, finally saw the stalwart become just the 13th man in the history of Test cricket, and the first Pakistani, to reach the five figure mark on Sunday, the third day of the first Test against the West Indies.
The 39-year-old right hander from Mardan began his 116th Test with 9,977 runs from 207 innings and went to the elusive landmark — only the fifth batsman from Asia to do so — after tea. At the break he was one tantalising run short of the distinction.
The great man didn’t have to wait long as he needed only two balls into the final session to get to the five figures, sweeping off-spinner Roston Chase for a boundary. He raised his bat to the Pakistan dressing-room to acknowledge the applause of his teammates.
India’s Sachin Tendulkar leads the list of most run-getters in Test cricket with 15,921 in 200 matches. Other members of this exalted club are Ricky Ponting of Australia (13,378 runs in 168 Tests), South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (13,289 in 166), Rahul Dravid of India (13,288 in 164), Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara (12,400 in 134), West Indies’ duo of Brian Lara (11,953 in 131), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (11,867 in 164), Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka (11,814 in 149), Australia’s Allan Border (11,174 in 156), Alastair Cook of England (11,057 in 140), Australia’s Steve Waugh (10,927 in 168) and India’s Sunil Gavaskar (10,122 in 125 matches) — the first player in Test history to cross the 10,000-run mark in 1987.
It was only a question of when, and not if, Younis Khan would get there once he had surpassed compatriot Javed Miandad’s longstanding Pakistan landmark of 8,832 runs; He had gone past Miandad — who played 189 innings during a 124-Test career from 1976-77 till 1993-94 — in eight fewer innings and 22 fewer matches.
When Miandad broke the then standing Pakistan record of 5,058 runs, held by the incomparable Zaheer Abbas, by scoring a double century against Sri Lanka at Faisalabad in 1985, none would have envisaged that it would be the ever-smiling Younis being the custodian of being the country’s leading Test run-maker.
Younis shared many fruitful partnerships with Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf and together the trio formed the mainstay of the Pakistan batting in the new millennium.
Both Inzamam and Yousuf were the two men thought capable of eclipsing Miandad’s tally, but it was eventually Younis who ultimately put all of them behind on day three of this rain-hit first Test against the West Indies.
Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2017