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Younis Khan's 7000-run journey

He is only the fourth Pakistan batsman to reach that landmark, and all his numbers suggest that he belongs with Pakistan's best

S Rajesh

September 13, 2013

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Younis Khan drives on his way to a half-century, South Africa v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Cape Town, 1st day, February 14, 2013
Younis Khan has a better record than any other Pakistan batsman in the second innings, and in Tests against India © Getty Images
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He isn't the biggest batting star Pakistan have produced, but in terms of sheer numbers Younis Khan's stats compare favourably with the best that the country has produced. In the first innings of the Harare Test against Zimbabwe, he became only the fourth Pakistan batsman to get into the 7000-run club, after Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf. In a career spanning more than 13 years, Younis has seldom been the marquee name in the batting line-up - that honour has mostly gone to Inzamam or Yousuf - but in moments of strife, Younis has often been Pakistan's go-to player. For a player of his ability, it's also surprising that Younis has missed as many Tests as he has - since his debut, he has been a part of only 74% of all Tests that Pakistan have played during this period (84 out of 114).

Like Miandad, Younis too started his career with a century on debut, against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi. In an early sign of things to come, that century was scored in the second innings, with Pakistan in heaps of trouble: after trailing by 171 in the first innings, they were 169 for 5 in the second when Younis came out to bat at No.7. He was the last man out for 107, helping Pakistan along to 390, though they still ended up losing by two wickets.

Despite that early sign of promise and temperament, Younis' first few years in Test cricket weren't prolific, though he didn't do badly either, scoring five hundreds in his first 28 Tests, and averaging 37. Apart from that debut hundred, he had another one in the second innings, against New Zealand in Auckland, when he converted Pakistan's first-innings advantage into a decisive, match-winning one with an unbeaten 149 off just 182 balls.

The move to the next level started in 2004, after Younis had missed the home series against India. He scored 124 against Sri Lanka in Karachi, was consistent on the tour to Australia without managing a really huge score, and then had a bounty on the tour to India, scoring 147 and 267 in successive Tests, in Kolkata and Bangalore. When India toured Pakistan next year, the love affair with India's bowlers continued, as Younis plundered 199 and 194. In fact, from 2004 to 2011, Younis averaged more than 50 in every single calendar year - that's seven successive years of 50-plus averages. (Pakistan didn't play a single Test in 2008.) That's a feat that none of Miandad, Inzamam or Yousuf achieved.

Younis Khan's Test career
Period Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Till Dec 2003 28 1680 37.33 5/ 9
Jan 2004 - Dec 2011 45 4525 62.84 14/ 16
Jan 2012 onwards 11 824 45.77 3/ 2
Career 84 7029 52.06 22/ 27

During this eight-year period, Younis' average of 62.84 was the best among all batsmen with as low a qualification as 200 runs. Unfortunately, it was a period during which Pakistan played very few Tests - only 65, compared to 99 by England, 91 by Australia and 89 by India - and Younis played only 70% of those, missing 20 of those 65 matches. In this period, he averaged more than 40 in series in Australia and South Africa, and more than 55 in New Zealand and England. The only country he struggled in was Sri Lanka, where he averaged 27.44 from 10 innings. However, he made up for that by averaging 96 in the six Tests he played against them at home and in the UAE.

Highest batting averages in Tests between Jan 2004 and Dec 2011 (Qual: 4000 runs)
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Younis Khan 45 4525 62.84 14/ 16
Jacques Kallis 76 6883 61.45 27/ 29
Kumar Sangakkara 72 6992 60.27 24/ 25
Sachin Tendulkar 75 6324 56.97 20/ 28
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 67 5232 55.07 15/ 27
Mohammad Yousuf 42 4072 55.02 14/ 13
Virender Sehwag 74 6660 53.70 17/ 27
Mahela Jayawardene 73 6167 51.82 19/ 21
Thilan Samaraweera 56 4090 50.49 10/ 23
Kevin Pietersen 78 6361 50.48 19/ 25
Michael Hussey 67 5285 50.33 15/ 27
Rahul Dravid 87 6755 50.03 20/ 32

In the ongoing Test series in Zimbabwe, Younis has easily been Pakistan's stand-out batsman, scoring 280 runs in three innings at an average of 140. Given how the rest of Pakistan's batsmen have struggled, it can't be said that these are easy runs, but it has still swelled his tally against them to 900 runs in ten Tests, at an average of 81.81, which puts him third in terms of aggregate for Pakistan against these two teams.

However, even excluding these numbers, Younis' career stats remain impressive - 6129 runs at an average of 49.42. Only Miandad and Inzamam have higher averages among Pakistan's batsmen, while Yousuf is a run lower at 48.20.

Pakistan's top run-scorers in Tests excluding matches v Zim and B'desh
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Javed Miandad 121 8689 53.30 23/ 42
Inzamam-ul-Haq 102 7653 50.01 21/ 42
Mohammad Yousuf 79 6411 48.20 20/ 26
Younis Khan 74 6129 49.42 19/ 24
Saleem Malik 97 5589 45.07 15/ 28
Zaheer Abbas 78 5062 44.79 12/ 20

Where Younis stands out, especially with respect to other Pakistan batsmen, is in his performances in the second innings. Among the Pakistan batsmen who have scored at least 1000 second-innings runs, Younis is the only one to average more than 50; Inzamam, Miandad, Yousuf, Saeed Anwar and Hanif Mohammad were all top stars for Pakistan, but none of them were as prolific in the second innings as Younis has been. His nine hundreds in the second innings is the highest for Pakistan, and the 11th-best among all batsmen.

In the fourth innings he has been even more special, scoring four centuries, a feat achieved by only four other batsmen. Among the 22 batsmen who have scored at least 1000 fourth-innings runs, Younis' average of 57.22 has been bettered by only two batsmen - Sunil Gavaskar and Geoffrey Boycott.

Highest second-innings averages for Pakistan (Qual: 1000 runs)
Batsman Innings Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Younis Khan 65 2791 51.68 9/ 12
Saleem Malik 57 1960 47.80 6/ 7
Inzamam-ul-Haq 81 3194 47.67 6/ 25
Hanif Mohammad 43 1679 45.37 4/ 6
Saeed Anwar 37 1580 45.14 4/ 10
Javed Miandad 66 2328 43.92 4/ 15
Mohammad Yousuf 67 2487 41.45 4/ 14
Asif Iqbal 42 1489 40.24 5/ 3

And then there's his record against India. Their bowling attack isn't the most formidable, but for a Pakistan batsman that's a vital measure, and Younis comes out on top there too: among Pakistan batsmen who have scored at least 500 runs against India, his average of 88.06 is the best; the only batsman who comes close is Zaheer Abbas, with an average of 87. In just 17 innings against them, Younis has scored five centuries, and the least of them - among hundreds where he has been dismissed - is 147. His other completed centuries are 267, 199 and 194. Add those numbers to his other stats, and it's clear that Younis belongs with the best that Pakistan have produced.

Pakistan batsmen with the highest Test averages v India (Qual: 500 runs)
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Younis Khan 9 1321 88.06 5/ 4
Zaheer Abbas 19 1740 87.00 6/ 3
Javed Miandad 28 2228 67.51 5/ 14
Mudassar Nazar 18 1431 62.21 6/ 3
Shoaib Mohammad 9 608 55.27 2/ 2
Inzamam-ul-Haq 10 833 52.06 3/ 4
Imran Khan 23 1091 51.95 3/ 3
Mohammad Yousuf 15 1247 49.88 4/ 6

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

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Posted by muzika_tchaikovskogo on (September 16, 2013, 10:41 GMT)

A long deserved tribute for one of the most underrated batsmen going around. In my opinion he's not very far behind the likes of Miandad or Inzamam, if not in the same class.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2013, 20:24 GMT)

who says he doesn't have the grace? to me he is one of the most elegant batsmen and certainly one of the best of this century

Posted by BravoBravo on (September 14, 2013, 2:40 GMT)

I have lot of respect for Mr. Younis Khan, Mr. Mohd. Yousuf, Mr. Jacqui Kallis and Mr. Rahul Dravid. They are/were the best in the game.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2013, 2:01 GMT)

Finally Younis Khan gets some long deserved appreciation for his grit and talent.It must however be noticed that he has always been a team man,preferring team glory over personal statistics.

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 19:59 GMT)

True Legend who is over looked by the world

Posted by   on (September 13, 2013, 18:39 GMT)

I am amazed at the way he was mishandled. He's such a simple and unassuming boy, and in my opinion, second only to Yousuf Youhana among Pakistan batsman in the last 10 years or so. Sadly though, Pakistan can only count Inzamam, Youhana and Younis as true class players in that period. One reason they are such a poor batting team, apart obviously from the laughable politics in the PCB selection committee. I think they manage to avoid serious embarrassments because they have a very good bowling unit with people like Ajmal ( who I think is the world's best off spinner at the moment), the (unfairly) underrated Rehman, Junaid Khan, Riaz and Gul. I keep thinking if Pakistan bowling combine with India's batting, no one dare come close !

Posted by samiLondon on (September 13, 2013, 17:27 GMT)

First of I like to thanks to writer how shows us true face of younas khan. I never try to compare him with our orther top batsman but after reading this I can say is he one of top batsman. I always respect younas due to his kind and honesty nature when people make group in team against him to play dirty politics he give captancy. The peaple who try to finish his his carer they all out and he is still in top 10. When ex PCB try very hard to push him to wall because he like player like Salman Butt , M asif.. Younas you are great. May God give you more success

Posted by ARFB on (September 13, 2013, 11:53 GMT)

I must say i am surprised after looking at these stats.I always thought of him as a flat track bully but his records against AUS,ENG & SA clearly shows that he deserves to be included in the current lot of best test cricketers with KP,Clarke,Bell,Cook,Amla & De villiers. Not only his away records shows his batting skills, but they also reflects that why Pakistan has the best away win ratio among all subcontinent teams.

Posted by FurqanKhan on (September 13, 2013, 11:39 GMT)

I really liked to watch the stat of hundreds in winning causes and also 50s...he has evrythng so hoping tht wud also b very high up there.. Really remember his mastr class innings and special partrnship in the 2nd test against S.A. that really made him special as a cricketer to me...u dont often c pakistani batsmen who do well in S.A and Ausyralia...he has just missed a century against aus in their home whn he got out for 83.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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