Younis Khan's 7000-run journey
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.
|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|
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.
|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.
|Javed Miandad||121||8689||53.30||23/ 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.
|Younis Khan||65||2791||51.68||9/ 12|
|Saleem Malik||57||1960||47.80||6/ 7|
|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.
|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|
|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