And Pakistani cricket

Congratulations to star batsman Younis Khan for becoming Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in Test cricket; a proud achievement indeed. As he overtook Javed Miandad’s 22-year domestic record, he not only stamped his authority all over again, but also revived the memory of great batsmen who have represented Pakistan just as proudly. While the press was all over Younis’s record, only bits of it remembered that just two runs behind Javed’s 8,832 is Inzimam’s career total (at 8,830); and Younis overtook both in one stroke as he lofted spinner Moeen Ali over deep midwicket for six just after tea on the opening day of the Abu Dhabi Test.

Significantly, Younis took 102 Tests to get to this mark, as opposed to 120 for Inzimam and 124 for Javed. But Javed ran the show when there were few others to share the burden, and more often than not he had to come to the rescue all on his own. Pakistan also faced stiffer opposition more regularly back in the day, when there were fewer weak teams with Test status. And his captaincy and later coaching played no small part in developing Inzimam’s, and Mohammad Yousaf’s, outlook; both of whom anchored the batting in the decade after him.

Younis, according to his peers, was the least naturally gifted of the four. Yet he was the most hard working and persevering. He says he took up the habit of not giving up from his father has he grew up in an average home in Mardan. And now that he has successfully mixed perspiration and inspiration to elevate himself to an unparalleled high in Pakistani cricket, he must carry on the tradition that helped propel him to the top. Like his seniors that sculpted and moulded him, it is now his responsibility to shape the future of Pakistan’s batting; especially now that the team is struggling in so many ways. For the moment, though, both he and the team deserve due credit for the milestone.