India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group A, Centurion September 25, 2009

Injured Younis not shirking tough games


Running away holds a significant place in Younis Khan's scheme of things. It is a recurrent theme in his conversation, shirking from challenge, responsibility and difficulty. He has spent his career and life mired in these matters, in making his way into and out of and then back in, in refusing the vice-captaincy in 2002, in refusing the captaincy in 2007 and finally in taking it.

There is a school of informed thought in Pakistan that believes when Younis turned down the captaincy after the last World Cup - effectively that he ran away, if you like - he did so because he wanted to take over when things had become even worse and some kind of savior was needed. It is self-indulgent, righteous and hubristic even, the belief that only you can resolve what is a mess and right all wrongs. Democrats will also tut-tut. But the stance is also to be admired, for, potentially, you set yourself up for big falls, bigger than even the rewards. And to go into it knowing that, it is something few men take on.

In a recent interview with Cricinfo, talking about taking up the captaincy this time Younis said, "I am going to go into this storm, go right to the edge and see how long I can stand there." To him that is the fun. It is a curious, contrary outlook to have and as he is a true Pathan, we can safely say he is no different from many of his kind. The balls here are untampered.

Precisely these things determine his place in the side tomorrow. A finger on his right - and bottom - hand is fractured and the doctors told him he needed four weeks rest. Yesterday morning, a full two days before the India game, barely a week after the injury, the PCB - presumably with Younis's consent, more likely on his directives - announced he will play against India. Bravado indeed.

Given the opponent, it is likely he would've turned up had he lost a limb but nothing is ever to be assumed in Pakistan cricket; few people have forgotten just who didn't turn up for the 1996 World Cup quarter-final against India. "I am playing tomorrow. I was told four weeks rest but I want to take my chance tomorrow, playing against India. Maybe if it wasn't India I would've skipped this match. It's very easy for me to run away, I have a fracture and I can leave it, not play against India and Australia. But these are big games. If you don't perform in a big tournament you have to face consequences and it is very easy for me to run away here."

He is a chancer, for he believes that having tried something and failed is much more preferable than not having tried it at all. Not playing tomorrow is worse than playing and failing. And playing and succeeding is the glory of all glories. It is a choice that might dictate the inclusion or otherwise of Mohammad Asif, for example, and it is in these delicate balances of choice and decision that Younis is found.

"I am looking at the big picture, who knows I may perform tomorrow and that performance will be remembered because I played with a broken finger. If I score a hundred and become Man of the Match and win the match - that is the big picture. Not playing is no advantage at all. This is manageable, maybe with an injection tomorrow, but I might play in pain tomorrow.

"We're all used to playing in pain, and the motivation has to be there to get up and play for the country. I am not 100%, it will hamper my fielding and if I get hit I will be in pain but the big picture is, why not come out and do something like Sachin did in 2003, something for my country which they will remember me for ages."

He is a fascinating study; a strikingly honest man, hyper, stubborn, proud, sometimes vindictive and much worldlier than many of his team-mates. Currently, he is one of the few really good men in Pakistan cricket's setup. If he and his team fail tomorrow, he will front up and explain why they did. If there is success, he will turn up much the same. But turn up he will.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naveen on September 26, 2009, 11:25 GMT

    Well Mr.Younis of luck let me see what u are capable of ......

  • Christopher on September 26, 2009, 9:40 GMT

    Well Younis, you can think and talk lots..... do something on the field.....

  • abdul on September 26, 2009, 8:49 GMT

    I think Younis should replace M. Yousaf instead of Misbah. Misbah has scored two half centuries in Practis games and can be helpful in putting pressure on India. He is a wonderful fininsher. The only thing goes against him is that he is a slow starter, but he can manage it in death overs. Asif on the other hand, i think, should not be the part of game, in prensence of Rana, Aamir and Gul. Best of luck Pakistan and Younis Khan

  • Ahmed on September 26, 2009, 7:34 GMT

    younis .. u r brave lyk every pathan ..n i m sure u'll contribute greatly in winning both the games gainst india and austarlia....gudluck

  • A on September 26, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    I wish Pakistan had better batsmen (or one in better form) than Malik and Misbah to cover for Younis during the rest period. While Malik, Misbah and Yousuf are supposed to be the mainstays of the batting order they are hardly playing any innings of significance. When they do score they do it very slow so yah, we need least that will mean one slow poke won't be playing...

  • Changez on September 26, 2009, 4:46 GMT

    i think its all about pressure and the fight till the any point if they think they r loosing their way then they should not stop fighting for it... And i think younis as a captain should be bit more positive in this game instead of being defensive.......he is a good captain but he needs chances n support of our former players and the public. If Pakistan bats well today they going to win for sure.Imran nazir should click today n younis n yousuf r the key players..

  • Mosin on September 25, 2009, 19:21 GMT

    Younus Khan is one of the best player. Inshallah we ll win tomorow game. Younus whole nation pray for you. we ve got out class player. we ll win icc world champion trophy, we dont want any controvery with India, we just want to play clean cricket. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD.......

  • Faisal on September 25, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    Had it not been for the drubbing that Jadeja gave to Waqar in the 1996 WC QF, Pak would have won it. And the only way that would have been possible was if Akram would have been playing........

    Younis Khan is an honest person and a very hard working man, and he knows that hard work pays off. Tomorrow will be no different....if Younis's boys work hard they will win...Inshallah. And my prayers are with them.....

  • Waqar on September 25, 2009, 18:24 GMT

    Younis Is A Great Leader & A Grand Character. The Legendary Imran Khan, Always Feature In The Most Difficult Times Of Match. Although ; Stats Shows He Is Nothing But An Ordinary Cricketer But His Courage & Braveness Make Him One Of The Best Player Ever Played In Cricket. Earlier In Karachi Test Vs Srilanka, Srilanka score More Then 500+ Runs In First Inning & Younis Come One Down To Bat Despite The Fact It Was The Perfect Time To Send Night Watchman. Instead To Send Night Watchman He Come & Bat Himself & Eventually Finished Scoring 300+ Runs. Such Act Of Braveness Shows His True Fighting Spirit. Playing Tomorrows Match Will Defiantly A Team Booster For Pakistan Cricket Team & Inshallah He Will Not Only End Up Winning The Match But Champions Trophy Thereafter … Go Pakistan ; Pakistan Zindabad ...

  • Waqas on September 25, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    Go for it Younis Bhai... Don't consider any injury.. You want success.. & Success will be yours.. InshAllah... All Nation is praying for the success of our team.... "Shair ki aik din ki zindagi .. Geedar ki so sala zindagi say behtar hay..".."one day 's' life of a Lion is better than 100 days 's' life of a jackal?"... Believe in you & your Team... Don't think about result, just give your 100 %.. thats it.. Best of Luck.

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