Comment: Dependable Younis makes us proud

Source: Published in Sports on Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Despite the injury worries in the camp and all the apprehensions to go with it, Pakistan I must say has done well so far to play themselves into a respectable position in their first innings of the first Test against England, being played in Abu Dhabi.

A very valuable 168-run partnership between Mohammad Hafeez (98) and Shoaib Malik for the second wicket no doubt provided the base. Malik scored an attractive century, coming back into this Test after five years.

If patience is a virtue then it surely was in abundance as both rallied the innings after losing opener Shan Masood off a delivery which was deflected off the youngsters’ helmet to disturb the bails.

A bit of swing, turn, movement off the pitch in later stages, and even reverse swing, failed to make much effect on the set batsmen in the middle. Pakistan needed that kind of resistance no doubt to keep the Englishmen in the field all day.

But what was also interesting for a small working day crowd was to see great Younis Khan overtake Javed Miandad’s tally of runs to become the highest run maker in Tests for his country. He brought that with a massive six off Moeen Ali, a stroke that had a stamp of class about it.

Since watching Younis’ debut at Rawalpindi in 2000 against Sri Lanka where he scored 107 in the second innings, I have been on his trail round the globe. His shoulders seldom dropped as he plundered runs against every opponent, and at times in testing conditions.

When on song he looked incomparable, maintaining his average over fifty, as did Miandad who too had begun with a debut century in a Test against New Zealand.

Having seen the career of both from the start I think it will not be fair to compare one to another. Miandad in form was ruthless, intimidating and at times ungainly but he had this skill to tackle the best bowlers of his time and lure them into making mistakes.

His century, the first against the West Indies in Tests, I can never forget. Having hit two fours off two successive bouncers, he challenged Curtley Ambrose to bowl another, which he did, only to be smashed again to the ropes.

Younis unlike Miandad has always been a model of style and elegance. Cheerful as all always he would hit a fast bowler past cover or point with perfect timing and then flash a huge smile all round. He would hop and jump and yet keep his cool and his mannerisms intact to step down and then hit a spinner straight past the bowler or sweep him down the leg side stretching full on one knee.

His bottom hand always much more dominating than his wrists at the top to guide the ball.

How can one forget his 267 at Bangalore and a score over fifty in the first innings against India or his triple century at Karachi against Sri Lanka or for that matter his 171 match-winning runs recently at Pallekele with Pakistan chasing a daunting 377.

Hanif Mohammad was the most skillful, Zaheer Abbas the most elegant, Miandad the most intimidating, Inzamam-ul-Haq always reliable and now Younis Khan who I suppose remains the most dependable.

I am privileged that I have watched them all in full flow.

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Written by Qamar Ahmed

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