Younis Khan wants to play Tests against India before retiring
Senior Pakistani batsman Younis Khan has expressed his desire to play Tests against arch-rivals India before he calls time on his remarkable career. The 38-year old cited the popularity of the sport in the two countries and their recent stellar performances in the traditional format whilst hoping for a resumption of bilateral ties amidst the prevailing tense security situation.
Speaking to reporters at Abu Dhabi where Pakistan will take on West Indies in the 2nd Test, the veteran also revealed his aim of becoming the first batsman from his country to complete 10,000 Test runs.
Younis believed, “It’s my wish to play a Test in Pakistan again, play against India and against all top teams. India and Pakistan are two giants of cricket — one number one and the other number two. So whatever the situation between the two nations, it must be forgotten and cricket should be played (as) people want to watch them play. Whenever we play India, people watch the game with unmatched interest and the game gets good promotion in the region. Therefore, it should be played and played regularly.”
The two Asian powerhouses have not met each other in Tests for almost nine years with their previous red-ball tussles occurring during the 2007 series in India of which Younis Khan was also a part of. Although Pakistan toured their rivals in 2012-13 for a brief ODI and T20I series, they have not played against each other outside ICC events such as World Cup, World T20, and Champions Trophy for the last few years.
The relations between the two countries seems to be deteriorating following the attack on an Indian Army base in Uri last month. Numerous Indian cricketers came out in support in the aftermath of the incident and quite a few of those have opposed any bilateral ties with Pakistan until the situation improves. While India are the top-ranked team in Tests, Pakistan are hot on their heels at second place.
However, there have also been signs that the political issues do not affect the camaraderie between the Indian and Pakistani players with star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin publicly congratulating his close competitor Yasir Shah for becoming the fastest Asian bowler to pick up 100 Test wickets.
According to ICC‘s Future Tours Program (FTP), the two teams are scheduled to play 3 Tests, 5 ODIs, and 2 T20Is from November 2017. However, the likelihood of the series happening does not seem too high when considering the recent past. But, India and Pakistan will lock horns with each other during the Champions Trophy next year at Birmingham.
Meanwhile, Younis, who missed Pakistan’s inaugural day-night Test due to dengue, has also signaled his ambition of creating a national record by reaching the 10,000-run mark in the format. He felt, “I never go after records. But, it’s my wish to be in that elite group of 10,000 runs because there is no Pakistani in that group.”
The right-hander currently needs 544 more runs to get to the landmark and will be hoping to make giant strides towards the feat in the second and third Tests against West Indies at UAE.