C365 Player of the Week: Younis Khan

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Imagine if the Pakistan Cricket Board had listened to an angry Younis Khan a few weeks ago and not picked him for the Tests against Australia? Then he’d not be getting our coveted award, and his career would have been blighted as a result.

But the PCB did see sense, and picked their best batsman despite his off-field chatter (see what they did there, ECB?) and they were rewarded in Dubai, as he helped them wallop the Aussies by 221 runs.

Before the Test began, Younis didn’t have a ton against Australia and was behind Inzamam-ul-Haq as Pakistan’s leading century maker. By the end of the Test, both those stats had changed thanks to his two tons.

The first century was the most important, because aside from bringing him level with Inzi on 25 tons, and making him the 12th batsman to score a ton against all Test-playing nations, it also saved their innings.

They were on seven for two, after a typically disastrous start, and it looked like the Aussies would be well on their way to the number one Test ranking. But Younis, shrugging off the furor after being dropped from the ODI side, was masterful.

He put on a century stand with Azhar Ali, and then added some more crucial runs with long-time fellow rescuer of knocks, Misbah. Younis was eventually out for 106, but his effort put them on the path to 454 all out.

His second knock was the opposite in tempo, coming on the back of Ahmed Shehzad’s ton and when Pakistan were smashing it to all corners. Where the first took 220 balls, the second required just 149, and included two sixes. Versatile much?

And so, after nearly ending his career in a strop, he came back to become Pakistan’s leading Test century maker, and doing so in far fewer Tests than many of his contemporaries.

Sadly, as popular cricket writer Jarrod Kimber has pointed out, many of those runs have been scored in empty UAE stadia, which makes for great photos with clear backgrounds, but not so great memories for absent fans.

Lindsay du Plessis

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