Younis Khan: Humble record-breaker has left little room for doubt

There is no doubt in my mind that Younis Khan is the greatest Test cricketer ever produced by Pakistan.

There are very few Pakistan records that he does not own. Those that don’t belong to him, will be his very soon.

Younis holds a few world records as well, and with the way he is going, there may be a few more to add to the cupboard.

The 37-year-old’s achievements are truly magnified if one considers the fact that Younis has only played 101 Tests. The number came as a shock to Michael Clarke when Pakistan and Australia squared off in UAE last year.

“Younis is a very good player and has been for a long time. I found out yesterday this is only his 93rd Test match, I thought he’d played a lot more than that. He’s one of the gentlemen of our game, a class player,” Clarke had said.

At the conclusion of Pakistan’s sensational win in the third Test against Sri Lanka, captain Misbah-ul-Haq said Younis was a ‘blessing’ for the team.

“His achievements are in front of us and explain what he is and what he can do.”

By Younis’ own admission though, “in life you are constantly proving yourself” and there maybe a few more corners the Pakistan great turns.

Here’s Younis in numbers.

Pakistan’s Best Test Batsman

Younis already has more Test centuries than any other batsman from Pakistan; and 5 more than the next best tally of 25 by Inzamam-ul-Haq. He is only 18 runs away from becoming the leading run-scorer for Pakistan in Tests, a record that has been held by Javed Miandad for over two decades. Younis is currently third on the list in terms of runs, but in terms of average he is well above the rest.

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His unbeaten 171 that led the team to victory over Sri Lanka was the former captain’s 11th score of 150 or more, which is the highest number of 150+ scores for Pakistan in their history. He went past Miandad who has 10 scores of 150 or more for Pakistan.

While Miandad’s 10 innings include six double centuries, Younis’ had five double centuries and one triple century from his. He is one of only three Pakistani batsmen who have scored a triple century.

Modern-day great

Younis is among the 10 highest run scorers in Test cricket in the past 10 years. It is no surprise that he has played the least amount of matches among these 10 batsmen; significantly less at that. Among these 10 batsmen, Younis is one of the only two who average over 60; Sangakkara is the other one.

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Yes, he has been better than KP, Cook, Ponting, Clarke, Kallis, and AB De Villiers in the past 10 years! Talk about being under rated!

Not only has Younis been better than his contemporaries, he has also been better than the popularly mentioned modern day great Test batsmen. Here’s a look at where the top 6 leading run scorers in Test cricket were after 101 Tests. It is so unfortunate that Younis has played only 101 Tests in his 15-year career so far.

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Younis has more runs than Dravid, Sachin, Ponting, and Kallis did. He has the same number of centuries as Sachin did and he is the only one along with Lara to have scored a triple hundred. He also has the best 50 to 100 conversion ratio.

Yet all we hear are the names of Sachin, Ponting and Kallis. Where would Younis have been if he had played as much cricket as these batsmen?

Top match winner for Pakistan and in the World

Inzamam-ul-Haq leads the way when its comes to ‘match winners’ produced by Pakistan. His 4,690 runs at an average of 78 with 17 centuries in Test match wins is unparalleled in Pakistan’s history. Younis is not far behind and will probably end up a bigger match winner than Inzamam before his career ends.

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In terms of averages among all batsmen that have scored at least 1,500 runs in test match wins for their countries, Younis Khan is right up there; behind only Sir Don Bradman, Inzamam, and Sir Gary Sobers.

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Best batsman in the world in Tests away from home

Everyone scores runs at home. Well almost everyone. The true test of a batsman is always in foreign conditions, on unfamiliar terrains. In the history of Test cricket, only Sachin and Dravid have scored more runs, and only Sachin has scored more centuries, than Younis has in Tests away from home.

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Furthermore, the Pakistan’s mainstay is the leading run scorer in test match wins away from home. He also has the most number of centuries in Test wins away from home with his unbeaten 171 taking him past Steve Waugh’s 14. And no one even comes close to him in terms of average in wins away from home.

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The Best in the world in 4th innings of Tests

The 4th innings of a Test match is the most difficult time to bat. The pitch has deteriorated, players have toiled for 3-4 days, and the pressure is at its peak considering that the batsmen are out there to either chase a target or save a match.

When it comes to performing in such situations, there is no one who is better than Younis. He is the absolute king and by far the best batsman in the history of Test cricket in the 4th innings.

Younis has scored five centuries in the 4th innings of Tests, more than anyone else in the world. His 4th innings average among all batsmen who have scored at least 1,000 runs in the 4th innings is the highest in the world. He is the only batsman to average over 60 in the 4th innings in the history of Test cricket.

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Younis match-winning 171 against Sri Lanka beat his own personal 4th innings best of 131* and also created a new record for the highest score by a Pakistan batsman in the 4th innings. He beat Saleem Malik’s 155, also scored against Sri Lanka in 1997, for that title.

His 171* is also the 4th highest score ever in the 4th innings of a Test in a successful chase, behind Gordon Greenidge’s 214, Arthur Morris’ 182, and Don Bradman and Mark Butcher’s 173.

A King of partnerships for Pakistan

Partnerships are the key to batting in international cricket. They help build strong totals, they help set targets, and they help chase down targets. And Younis is the absolute king of partnerships for Pakistan.

He has now been involved in 61 century partnerships for Pakistan, which is the highest number for anyone from Pakistan.

He has added 3,137 runs at an average of 78.42 with Mohammad Yousuf, which is the most partnership runs by any Pakistan pair in Tests.

He has 13 century partnerships with Misbah-ul-Haq, which is the most for any Pakistan pair. He also has nine century partnerships with Mohammad Yousuf.

Something that will never be captured by statistics is the man’s impact on Pakistan’s batting line up in terms of guiding younger batsmen. Fawad Alam, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, and now Shan Masood have Younis Khan to thank for for reaching their maiden Test hundreds. Each one of those batsmen reached their maiden century while involved in a 100-run partnership with King Khan.

His 242-run partnership with Shan that set up victory for Pakistan has created records and that was not Younis’ first 200-run partnership with a young batsmen while guiding him towards his maiden century. He was there for 200 runs with Fawad Alam and 259 runs with Asad Shafiq.

Needless to say, Younis’ numbers transcend the average statistical analysis. Not only the younger ones, but even stalwarts like Yousuf, Inzamam, and Misbah have reached many of their Test centuries with the King at the other end.

Published in DAWN on July 8, 2015.

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