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February 24, 2009

Age of Khan

Pakistan cricket finds a leader

Kamran Abbasi
Younis Khan plays the cover drive, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Karachi, 4th day, February 24, 2009
 © AFP
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Karachi's pitch may have killed the match but it has rejuvenated Younis Khan. His triple hundred will always be diminished by this docile track despite the pressure of chasing down a total of over 600. It shouldn't be. Much more illustrious Pakistan teams and batsmen have crumbled on as friendly surfaces. The pressure of the situation has been too great and their strength of character too weak. Indeed, which other Pakistan batsman has threatened to score a century?

Meanwhile, Younis has devoured this challenge with an innings that could earn him the highest ever score by a Pakistani. It would be well deserved. The new captaincy, a selection row, criticism of his leadership in the field, a score of over six hundred, and the bowling combination of Murali and Mendis have all made this innings a test of Younis' mental strength and character. He has passed with a flourish and an ever present smile.

His square drive to reach a century and reverse sweep to the triple hundred were typical Younis: classical yet innovative and fearless. The road to recovery for Pakistan cricket will be long and interrupted by failure. But Younis Khan has already shown that he is a man with the guts to lead Pakistan cricket out of the living hell of the past two years.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by frednork on (March 3, 2009, 7:22 GMT)

unfourtunatley, its all moot, as given the recent news regarding the Sri Lankan team, international cricket in Pakistan is probably not going to occur in the near or far future shame

Posted by EAMiran on (March 3, 2009, 5:46 GMT)

The terror attack today marks the death knell of International cricket in Pakistan. May Pakistan cricket, whatever little is left of it, find peace on foreign shores.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (March 2, 2009, 16:10 GMT)

So Younis Khan wins the toss and decides to put S.Lanka in. At 38-2, he looked like a genius, at 98-3 he still looked very smart, at 606 all out, he looks like Shoaib Malik. I wonder what Inzamam thought of it, I am sure that old Inzy would have batted first, "aggressive tactics" be hanged. Inzy would have surmised that Pakistan had only one front line fast bowler, with a debutant and a medium pacer to back him up. This apparently escaped the intelligent, aggresive mind of the smiling Younis Khan. Maybe Younis shouldn't smile so much, 600 in two tests in a row and a double ton by Samaraweera back to back is hardly anything to smile about. I hope Pakistan saves the Test, but I hope Younis is man enough to admit that it was a mistake putting S. Lanka in, seeing that they would have batted if they won the toss.

Posted by faisal on (March 1, 2009, 16:54 GMT)

Now muhd talha is wicketless and expensive, hey everybody start talking about him lol i think both talha and shoil khan are good they just need time and above some people start comparing yoinis with inzi lol man hold your hourses. how can you compare two players when their is huge differece between them frist younis has played 6 matches as captin and inzi has 31 and above waterbuflo is going too much infavor of inzi i agree he was a world class player no dout but by the way his win/loss in test matches is 11/11 and younis's win/loss is 1/1 so i think both are equal lol....what do you think

Posted by Ravi K. Bhab on (February 28, 2009, 17:26 GMT)

Kamran Bhai,

this maybe a bit of an aside~ but whilst touring South America with a charity close to my heart I stumbled across a surprising wealth of untapped cricketing talent, most of whom were of asian descent displaying untorthodox eye - hand co-ordination and it would be wise in my opinion to scout these nations for potential talent (ignoring other talent in the area.

P.S. Hope we give Mahela a traditional Pakistani farewell in the next test - but not a too welcoming pitch.

Posted by faisal on (February 28, 2009, 16:41 GMT)

Pitch is being critcised by everyone but here is the thing, we never made fast or lively track in pak but we won matches, now the question is how? Difference is that we have bowler like waqar, wasim, shoaib, Asif, imran, saqlain, qadir, sarfraz nawaz, fazal mahmood in the past two, three decades who had capability to take wicket on dire dead pitches now we don't have that kind of bowling attack what we have we can say they are madiocre at batsman friendly pitches so that is the main difference. Poor pitch and curator are being criticised wrongfully

Posted by Mohsin on (February 28, 2009, 10:42 GMT)

i think we all should wait till 2nd test start, we all will see what positive pak team learned from 1st test, and applied in the 2nd match.. as i think its too early to jump to conclusion that our batting line up is very good and bowling doesn't need more than Talha or Sohail khan

Posted by CRICKETEXPERT on (February 28, 2009, 10:03 GMT)

waterbuffalo, Younis won one so far he hasnt played long enough as captyain to win as many as inzi

Inshallah Younis will turn out to be a very good captain and will win more tests for Pakistan

Posted by Tay'yab-Ali Malik on (February 26, 2009, 23:19 GMT)

I am amazed that some people are not giving the credit Yk deserves and continually making refrences to the flat pitch. In modern times name me one triple hundred scored on a lively or a good test wicket. Lara, sewag, haden, gayle,mahela, inzi -all have scored their triple hundreds on dead, flat and docile tracks. What makes YK's knock special is that it was his first match as captain, he came out instead of sending in a night watchman,chasing a huge total, playing test cricket after almost 14m and more importantly he was up against two of the best spinners in the world both of whom can spin the ball on any wicket.

I hope they keep sohail and play talla. Drop iqbal, akmal is good enough to bat at 6, arafat can bat too. We need to take 20 wickets to win.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (February 26, 2009, 22:06 GMT)

So all is well now with Pakistan cricket because Younis led from the front with a 'fighting' triple century, nevermind that 2 Sri Lankans scored double hundreds and not a single batsman on both sides failed to get to at least twenty, I suppose Kamran Akmal is now a brilliant batsman after his 100, oh, I forgot the S.Lankan opener out for a duck. Yes 300 is a brilliant score, but I have to see Younis Khan, 'the fighting pathan' use his brains on the field before I start saying he is better than Inzi and almost as good as Miandad or Imran, the over the top responses show how immature most Pakistani supporters are. You do realize that Sangakkara bowled 10 overs and Mahela also bowled. That shows what the S. Lankan captain thought of the pitch, it is a subtle criticism, but a very pertinent one, we had better hope that their wicketkeeper doesn't bowl in the next test. Pakistan had better develop a thick skin if that happens. Inzi saved and won Tests for Pakistan since 99. Younis won one.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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