Pakistan v Australia - Well done Younis Khan!

Younis Khan celebrates after completing his double hundred against Australia, second Test, Abu Dhabi, Day 1, 2014

Younis Khan had caught my attention fourteen years back. In the second innings of the first Test match against Sri Lanka at Rawalpindi, Pakistan were found wanting and they were in need of a brave batting display as the lead was not sufficient enough to challenge the might of the Lankan batting lineup.

A 22-year old batsman from Mardan rose to the occasion and imprinted his name in the history books by notching a workmanlike century in a record ninth wicket partnership with Wasim Akram as Pakistan staged a resilient but belated fight back. Sadly, Pakistan had lost against Sri Lanka in an absolute nail-biter, but Younis Khan’s brave knock had earned enough accolades from the critics.

The journey of Younis Khan had started, but it was not rosy at all. Time and again, he had failed to live up to the expectations according to his talent. Big hundreds were not coming and his stays at the wicket were short-lived. And thus, his place in the Pakistan team was never guaranteed. But Younis Khan never gave up. He continued to try harder to claim a permanent place in the Pakistan team.

The high voltage Indo-Pak series in 2005 proved extremely fruitful for Younis Khan. Till the third Test in Bengaluru, Younis Khan was a lost soul, but still the team’s coach Bob Woolmer never lost faith in him. Younis bounced back with a bang at Bengaluru by smashing a double ton and since then, he hardly looked back. The appropriate guidance of Bob had transformed Younis into a better player both technically and temperamentally.

Younis continued to deliver the best for Pakistan as a batsman, captain and a fielder. Under his captaincy, Pakistan went on to win the World Twenty20 in 2009 while under crisis, his bat always smiled to provide valuable runs for Pakistan. The steeper the odds, the more he seems to thrive.

But despite establishing himself as one of the most important members of Pakistan cricket team, Younis has always been the victim of Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) whimsical treatments. Time and again, this great servant of Pakistan cricket has been treated shabbily. He was ousted from the captaincy in the most shameful manner in 2009 and then he was left in the cold for a brief period during Pakistan’s important away tours and for his dedications towards Pakistan cricket he has never received the due respect.

Not so long ago, before the start of the one-day series against Australia, Pakistan cricket’s hierarchy had announced the ODI team without including Younis. He made an ODI comeback during the Sri Lanka tour, not having played 50-over cricket for Pakistan since March 2013. He scored 3 in his only innings of the series before he had to fly home following the death of his nephew.

Chief selector Moin Khan said, “Our experiment with Younis in the ODI series in Sri Lanka backfired. Now all have unanimously decided to look ahead to our future with youngsters. His services for Pakistan are commendable, but now we have to take a step forward and he is also out of contention for the 2015 World Cup”.

Such an act simply annoyed Younis Khan, who said, “Don't let everyone be treated in a similar manner, those who have raised the flag of this country, don't disrespect them otherwise no youngster will play for Pakistan”.

But Younis Khan is a person who never gives up so easily. He is a Pathan warrior - committed, inspired, capable, and has the ability to conquer adversity. For a while he might be annoyed, but whenever it had been the matter of delivering for the country, Younis never stepped back, but gave his very best for the betterment of Pakistan cricket.

In the ongoing Test series against Australia, he has slapped the hierarchy of Pakistan cricket by scoring heavily and so far, his achievements have been unique and they are well enough to tag him as one of the best batsman Pakistan have ever produced.

People like Younis Khan are cricket’s most prolific fighters who are born to inspire a generation. His rich vein of form against Australia has been a product of his sheer will power and commitment towards his team which can hardly be undermined. The Pakistan Cricket Board can’t afford to drop Younis from the World Cup squad. They should be ashamed of their harsh actions against Younis.

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