Disrespect for the Respected Legends

Source:  Pakistan Herald Published in Sports on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

“I am a bit disappointed at the way Younis has reacted to being dropped from the ODI squad as he is a very senior player and we have a lot of respect for him," said Shaharyar Khan and further said that Younis Khan needs to show a bit of maturity. This statement was given by the PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan after he faced the allegations that Younis Khan is sidelined by the PCB because YK refused to lead the side back in 2006 in the Champions Trophy and Khan was the chairman then.

Younis Khan has been recently left out of the upcoming ODI series against Australia. The veteran batsman has been utterly disappointed by the decision. Here are some of his heart-wrecking statements

“I am a bit disappointed at the way Younis has reacted to being dropped from the ODI squad as he is a very senior player and we have lot of respect for him,"

“My biggest mistake was to win Pakistan the World T20 of 2009 and afterwards the board rewarded him with humiliation and disrespect.”

"I came back and then suddenly they said for me, or for players like me, that we have no future. Then who has a future? So a player like me should shoot himself, should we abandon playing cricket?”


This is not the first time that the legends of our cricket have been treated like that. I do not remember any player after Imran Khan that had an exit from the international cricket with respect. Pakistan has produced a number of legends in the past decades. The heroes that I have grown up watching includes Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam ul Haq, Saeed Anwar, Saqlain Mushtaq, Shoaib Akhtar and many others. But, I do not remember any player having a respectful exit from the international cricket.


As Shoaib Akhtar is the Pakistani legend that has most recently retired, I remember he was ditched in the semi final of 2011 World Cup against India that would have been the biggest match of his career. He still cries over that decision of Waqar Younis, who was the head coach that time. Shoaib Akhtar called a press conference in which he announced his retirement with tears in eyes. He was the bad boy of cricket, a true legend, the fastest bowler to ever play the game of cricket and he did not get any sort of farewell. He deserved respect and honor. He served Pakistan with while fighting numerous injuries, he was once Pakistan’s trump card and an inspiration for almost every young pacer of that era, but, again, he was humiliated.


Lets go some years back and see how one of the best bowlers of the history of cricket, the Sultan of Swing Wasim Akram got retired from the international cricket. The bowler that had an unorthodox action without a jump.He proved that a bowler with unique action can also be effective and he proved it with a bang. He became the highest wicket-taker in the history of ODI cricket and became the first bowler to take 500 international wickets in the limited over game. No one is unaware of the capabilities of the great Wasim Akram,every left-arm fast bowler dreams of becoming the Wasim Akram. Now, keeping all this in view, have a look at his career’s last test and ODI match.


The legendary Sultan of Swing played his last test match against Bangladesh in 2002 at Bangabandhu Stadium, Dhaka. He was not 100% fit and he only managed to bowl 2.4 overs in the whole match and left the field.Although, Pakistan won that match with an innings and 178 runs, but, the legend’s last match was a nightmare for himself and his die hard fans as well. He was not given any honorary match by the board to say goodbye to the international test cricket in a sparkling fashion.


Now, have a look at the last one day international of the highest wicket-taker. The match was played on the 4th of March, 2003 in Queen’s Sports Club, Bulawayo. First, the start of the was delayed due to rain and the contest was reduced to 38 overs per side. Afterwards, the match between Pakistan and Zimbabwe started, but, only 14 over could be bowled by the home team and the game was called off due to bad weather. Imagine, it was the last game of the best left-arm bowler to ever play this game. His fans could not see him bowl, Wasim Akram could raise the ball to the crowd, there was no guard of honor. He just vanished from the scene. Is this a way a legend should be sent off?


Shoaib Akhtar and Wasim Akram are merely two examples that I quoted as they were arguably the biggest stars of the last decade for Pakistan.There are many such stories of our legends being mistreated and not getting what they deserved. Examples like Waqar Younis, Mohammad Yousuf, Saqlain Mushtaq and others are worse examples of silent exits of legends from the international arena.


Younis Khan has very rightly said that if the legends are treated with such disrespectful behavior, youngsters will not be passionate about playing with the star on their cap. Or if the youngsters keep playing for their country and do acts similar to Mohammad Amir’s, they will not be the ones to blame. When the board will not give respect and honors for the performers of their country, then the youngsters will run after money. Cricket offers only two things,respect and money to the players, but, when there is no respect offered to our national heroes, our future heroes will hardly think about the dignity of their nation and to them, it's better to get humiliated for doing corruption than to be humiliated for winning the glory, the World Cup


Our cricket board has to think about this angle of the picture and need to work on it. Mistreating the legends and the role models will get the whole generation distant from the game. Pakistan is losing the passion for the sports and it can only be restored by producing legends and role models. I hope that the PCB will take Younis Khan seriously and fix his complaints that are very much justified. No cricket fan wants to hear such emotional comments from a legend like Younis Khan. It hurts the whole nation when a legend maltreated.

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