by Ravi Venkat Jul 17, 2015 13:57 IST
Recently Younis Khan became the fifth Pakistani and the 62nd overall to play 100 Tests. As was typical of the man, this achievement was celebrated without any fanfare, both by him and the media. For some reason, his achievements do not get the same attention as those of other legendary batsmen from Pakistan and from other countries.
This could be a blessing for him, as it allows him to go about his job without being in the spotlight — or it could be unfair as it deprives him of well-deserved attention. This could be because his batting lacks the charisma of his illustrious counterparts.
Throughout his career, Younis Khan has gone about his business of scoring runs and letting his bat do the talking. Most cricket pundits will vouch for the fact that a batsman’s value to the team depends on how many runs he scores and not how he looks scoring those runs. A statistical analysis of Younis’ batting shows that he is an all-time great and can lay claim to being the greatest Pakistani batsman of all time.
His batting average in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings in Tests is 55.23, 54.84, 48.7 and 60.59 respectively, while his career average is 54.07. This shows that his performance is remarkably consistent throughout Tests in all types of conditions and is not skewed according to the vagaries of the pitch. He is equally adept at scoring runs on a flat belter of a pitch, or if his team is inserted by the opposition on a green top — or if the track is a nightmare for batting in the last innings, as some pitches in the sub-continent can be.
He is one of just three Pakistani batsmen and 24 overall to score a triple-century in Test cricket. He is also one of just seven batsmen from Pakistan to score a century in both innings of a Test. This feat has been achieved just 79 times in the annals of Test cricket. Among all batsmen who have scored a minimum of 20 centuries, he is one of just four who have scored more hundreds than fifties. This puts him in elite company with Don Bradman, Matthew Hayden and Mohammad Azharuddin.
He is the 3rd most prolific batsman for Pakistan and needs just 19 runs to go to pole position in spite of the fact that he has played 23 and 18 Tests lesser than the top two run scorers respectively.
Another stunning feat from Younis is the number of times he has scored a century in a winning cause for Pakistan: 16. This is just one less than Inzamam-ul-Haq — who holds the record for Pakistan. However, Inzamam has participated in 10 victories more. Overall he is in 12th position for most centuries scored in a winning cause in Tests. His batting average of 39.6 against South Africa is his lowest against any country. This shows that he is consistent against any country and does not have a weakness against any particular kind of bowling.
He recently scored his 30th Test century in his 101st Test. After 100 Tests, only three batsmen in history had scored more centuries than him: Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Matthew Hayden. The achievement also made him just the 12th batsman to score 30 Test centuries. Only three out of the 11 scored those centuries quicker than him in terms of Tests. In terms of innings taken to score those 30 centuries — only four batsmen are ahead of him.
He is one of just 43 batsmen who have scored more 1000 Test runs against India and he has the 3rd highest average (88.06) among them. It is the dream of every batsman to raise their game a notch against their arch-rivals and Younis has done than time and again.
He has scored 4142 runs in Test victories for Pakistan — which is the second highest by a Pakistani batsman. Overall he is 3rd in the list of most matches a player from Pakistan has won in Tests. There have been a total of 309 batsmen who have participated in at least 15 Test victories and he has the 4th highest average among all of them (76.7). This shows how heavily dependent Pakistan are on Younis to triumph in Tests.
Let’s be honest — these are almost Bradmanesque figures.
There have been 26 batsmen who have scored 1000 runs in the 4th innings in Tests. He is 11th on the list. But he has the most centuries (5) among any batsmen in the 4th innings and also the highest batting average (60.59) among the 26.
He has played with 40 percent of all players who have represented Pakistan in Tests and 61 of the 220 players have made their debut after him. This shows his longevity.
During his Test career which has spanned 15 years he has played against 293 opponents in Tests.
It’s a stunning list of achievements — finally, he has the 2nd highest batting average of any batsman from the sub-continent (minimum cut-off of 17 Tests). The fact that he is 2nd in such a list shows his greatness.
Younis turns 38 on 29th November. However, irrespective of how long he carries on, or how many runs he scores in the remaining Tests in his career, he has earned his place in the pantheon of all-time greats.
It is time for the fans and pundits to recognise the achievements of this lion-hearted cricketer. One thing is for certain, even if they don’t, Younis will still quietly go about his business of scoring runs and winning matches for Pakistan.