KARACHI: Pakistan veteran Younis Khan has vowed to hold off retiring until he has guided his team to Test series victories in England and Australia to cap off a remarkable career.
The 37-year-old played his hundredth Test on the tour of Sri Lanka earlier this month and struck a brilliant 171 not out in Pakistan’s run chase of 377 to anchor the win in the third and final match in Pallekele.
The win gave Pakistan a 2-1 series victory, their first in Sri Lanka since 2006.
But Younis insisted he was not ready to put away his pads yet.
“I will go on my own terms and want to see and contribute to Pakistan wins in Australia and England,” he said Wednesday at a ceremony to mark his century of Test matches.
“Pakistan will become a great team if we win in England and Australia, and since I have not scored a hundred in Australia I want to achieve that too before retiring.”
Pakistan’s last series win in England came in 1996 while they have never won a series on Australian soil.
Known for his silky skills with the bat and mastery over spin, Younis has been a mainstay in Pakistan’s top order for more than 15 years and is considered the team’s sole remaining batting great.
The century he scored in Pallekele was his 30th, taking him past legendary Australian batsman Don Bradman (29).
It was also his fifth in the second innings of a match, a world record surpassing India’s Sunil Gavaskar and England’s Geoff Boycott who both had four.
He is now also just 19 runs shy of countryman Javed Miandad’s Test tally of 8,832, the Pakistan record.
“It will be a big honour for me to cross the great, great Miandad and it will not be a matter of becoming the top run-getter but it will be a matter of being compared with the great man whom I had idolised since my childhood,” Younis said.
Looking back at his journey through cricket, the former skipper, who hails from the small north-western city of Mardan, said: “I needed money and fought through from club cricket to play for Pakistan and had I not met success I would have gone back to do something else, but Allah helped me.”
“I lost my father, my sister and two brothers but those losses drove me to become a successful cricketer because my father and brothers also wanted me to do that,” he added, referring to recent bereavements which had forced him to take time out from his career.
Published in DAWN on July 16, 2015.