Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan: Redefining cricket's 30+ theory
Perception - An intellectual process that has always been an integral part of humans. Perception has the ability to decide the outcome of an event even before it has occurred, it has such a strong control over our cognitive abilities that it can overshadow all our reasoning powers.
Even in sports, perception plays an important role, in a sport like cricket, the powers that be are apprehensive to give a chance to players who have crossed the age of 30, though there is no proper reasoning for it.
Time and again, we have seen how players over the age of 30 have played an instrumental part in their team’s success but there is still a fear in the fan’s mind when they see a new player on the roster who is on the wrong side of thirty.
Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan are the two players who are redefining cricket’s 30+ theory in modern day cricket. Both Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq have been in tremendous form in the last few years, and just like fine wine, they have only got better with age.
Misbah played a brilliant knock to help his team win the First Test of the recently concluded Test series in England and Younis Khan’s century in the last game of that same series played a pivotal role in Pakistan leveling the series. They have been the two pillars behind Pakistan achieving so much glory in Test cricket in the recent years.
In a country famous for producing young superstars like Wasim Akram, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Mohammad Amir, it is heartening to see that experienced players like Younis and Misbah also have a major role to play.
Statistics show the value of both these players
In the last three years, Younis Khan has played 24 tests and scored 2515 runs at an average of 62.87 which includes 11 centuries. In the same time, Misbah has played 25 tests and scored 2010 runs at an average of 52.89 which includes 6 centuries.
Both of these players have been in stellar form in the recent years which is substantiated by the statistics and this has been one of the major reasons behind Pakistan reaching to the number one spot in test cricket recently albeit for a small time.
Pakistan has always been a strong bowling side but one thing that has let them down over the years has been their batting. The solidity provided by these two experienced players in the middle order has closed that loophole for them.
Cricket is defined by passion and skills and not by age
It is not only about cricket but sports, in general, is defined by how old a sportsman is. Cricket, like any other sport, rewards those with skills and passion rather than the age of the player. As a player, skills and passion are needed to succeed at the highest level, along with the required fitness levels.
Michael Hussey will always remain a prime example of the fact that age is just a number, and it is the performance that matters. In an era when Australian cricket was bestowed with some of the greatest talents ever to grace the cricketing field, Hussey was able to carve his own niche in the side. He became such a valuable player for Australia that at one stage, it was tough to imagine their middle order without him.
Misbah has been as useful, if not more for the Pakistan side in recent times as Hussey was for Australia. His calm demeanor combined with his grit and determination has made him an indispensable part of the team. He may not be the most technically gifted player,but what separates him from the rest is his grit to fight and the value he puts on his wicket; a trait difficult to find in today’s youngsters, which is why players like Misbah are even more special.
Unlike Misbah, Younis Khan has been an integral part of the Pakistan team for years but his performances have only got better with age. In the last few years, he has looked much more assured of his game and that has reflected in his performances. In the twilight of his career, the light of his shining career has only got brighter.
These two modern day Pakistani greats are a testimony to the fact that age is a minuscule factor when compared to skills and passion for the game.
Had Pakistan’s selectors picked less temperamentally strong players in favour of these two greats, Pakistan probably wouldn’t have reached the same heights in Test cricket. It is a great achievement for Younis and Misbah that they have made the 30+ age players fashionable in cricket in times of the flamboyant young superstars.