KARACHI: When Younus Khan hangs up his bat at the end of Pakistan’s tour of the West Indies, it will likely be with a final Test milestone against his name. Younus is just 23 runs away from becoming the first Pakistan player to score 10,000 Test runs. With the first of three Tests against the West Indies beginning on Friday in Kingston, Jamaica, few would bet against him marking his swansong with a final foray into the record books. Since his debut in 2000 against Sri Lanka, he proved his ability to adapt to different conditions by scoring centuries in every Test playing nation, including double hundreds in India and England. His batting average of 53.06 is the highest by any Pakistani who has played 10 Tests or more. But for all Younus’s record-breaking individual achievements, former team-mate and fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said his former captain should be remembered for his selfless personality and team ethic. “To me Younus should be renamed ‘Unique’ Khan for his selflessness and honesty towards Pakistan cricket and the team,” said Shoaib, who retired in 2011. Renowned as a fighter at the crease, Younus often produced his greatest performances with his back against the wall. Of his 34 tons, an all-time Test record five have been scored in the fourth innings. His 2005 match-winning 267 and 84 not out against India in Bangalore came after a string of low scores saw him battling to avoid being dropped.
Younus’s greatest achievement as captain was winning the 2009 world Twenty20 championship in England. And yet that came just weeks after Pakistan cricket had been thrown into disarray by the gun attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, an incident which means the national side still plays their home matches in the UAE. Younus said he wanted to be remembered as a team player. “When I am retired and when I am not in the dressing room, I want youngsters to remember me as a role model,” he said. “I want them to remember me as a player and batsman who always played for his country.” Hailing from Mardan in the north-west Khybe Pakhtunkhwa, Younus’s career was moulded in Karachi. Younus scored a hundred in his first Test against Sri Lanka at Rawalpindi in 2000 and went on to record 33 more, with a triple ton and three double hundreds. His most recent was a typical unbeaten 175 ground out over more than seven hours as Pakistan crawled to 315 against Australia in Sydney in January. His Test best 313 against Sri Lanka in Karachi in 2009 is the third highest individual score for Pakistan behind Hanif Mohammad’s 337 and Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 329.