Pakistan news April 8, 2017

Younis Khan to retire after West Indies Tests as well

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Younis Khan has joined Misbah-ul-Haq in retiring from international cricket at the end of the tour of the West Indies in April and May. He announced his decision in Karachi on Saturday, two days after Misbah did likewise in Lahore, bringing an end to a 17-year Test career.

"People are calling me and asking me not to make any announcement to leave but now is the time," Younis, 39, said in Karachi. "A time comes in every player's life when he has to decide and I always tried my best to serve my county with my head high. No player always remains fit, the motivation never remains the same, so this is the time when Younis should leave the field after the upcoming series in West Indies."

The exits of Younis and Misbah after the three Tests in the Caribbean will cost the Pakistan team more than 190 matches worth of experience. Younis heads into the series 23 runs short of becoming the first Pakistan batsman to score 10,000 Test runs. Misbah, nearly 43, needs 49 for 5000.

"I always tried to be a good ambassador and serve my country to take it one step forward," Younis said. "If I've ever made a mistake in my career, if I've forgotten something, or done something wrong, please think of me as one of your own and forgive me, ignore me and let's move on.

"This isn't something sudden, this was always building up and few of my close friends knew it. Although I had a plan to retire after surpassing Javed bhai's [Miandad] runs record, then I was motivated to complete 10,000 runs so I have decided to get them. The reason I announced it beforehand was people start asking me for more, they could then ask me to take 11,000 or 12,000 or I may start thinking about reaching Sachin's 15,000 runs. Humans can never be satisfied but I am not of an age to make it that far, so I want people to respect my decision and allow me to fulfil my future plans."

Though Younis and Misbah leave on their own terms - unusual for Pakistan cricket - it is reasonable to think that eventually, a decision could have been forced upon them. It is understood the chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq was keen for both to retire after the West Indies tour, allowing them a proper farewell and a chance for Younis to get to 10,000. Inzamam wants to build a younger side around a new Test captain and felt this was the time to do it.

Younis Khan made his debut in 2000 and now averages 53 in Test cricket © Getty Images

Speculation of retirement had not followed Younis like it did for Misbah, but the lack of a big score until the third Test in Sydney, where Younis made an unbeaten 175, did raise the question. Younis had said then that his future depended on what the team wanted from him.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur knew that pressure would mount quickly on Younis and Misbah, especially if results did not go Pakistan's way. The situation Pakistan wanted to avoid was both leaving at the same time. Arthur said during Pakistan's tour of Australia that in an ideal world, he would want them to stagger their exits so that the impact on younger batsmen in the side could be more carefully managed. Younis and Misbah had a significant influence on the development of players like Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq.

When asked how Pakistan would cope with him and Misbah leaving at the same time, Younis expressed confidence that Pakistan would be able to move on.

"In the past these things were said, what Pakistan will do with big stars leaving, it will be difficult ahead … but life never stops for anyone, it needs to move on," he said. "When I came in I shared the dressing room with players like Rashid Latif, Moin Khan, Inzamam, Wasim, Saeed Anwar and I thought what will happen if they fade away. All pressure will come on us as junior players.

"But after two to three years Pakistan still did wonders, like in 2009 I won the World T20 with youngsters around me … I think Sarfraz [Ahmed] has a chance here to stand up and take the Pakistan team forward and we should think this way."

Younis has played 115 Tests, having made his debut in 2000, and has 9977 runs at an average of 53.06 with 34 hundreds, the most for a Pakistan batsman. His best Test score - 313 against Sri Lanka in 2009 - is the third highest for Pakistan, after Hanif Mohammad's 337 and Inzamam-ul-Haq's 329. He was recently named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year, following his contribution in Pakistan's 2-2 drawn series in England last summer.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   badboycricfan on April 11, 2017, 11:33 GMT

    @goad'srand how did u feel when Oz with this team beat you in your own ground in 1st match and were about to do you again in 2nd test?? Now coming back to my point this team did beat u in ODIs at your own grounds so bcci avoided playing them in tests cuz they feared these guys would thrash u again in tests...

  • Asker on April 10, 2017, 14:58 GMT

    I can say without doubt what Misbah has done for pakistan and pakistani cricket in particular in his short tenure of 50 tests no on has done or created such an impact. I can without any hesitation include starlwarts like Kardar, Mushtaq mohammed, Asif Iqbal, Imran khan, Inzamam and any other notable contributors as captains whom i might have missed but the list i included is a an esteemed list of pakistani captains who did a yeomen service but I would on any day put Misbah above all. some may agree with me and some may not agree but if people analyze things in their proper perspective and context I think most people would agree with me.

  • Nitin on April 10, 2017, 12:04 GMT

    @ badboycricfan - your name is apt to your analysis - may want to improve it :) Let time unfol who plays better on that day than sparking an obsessive comment, which only illogical people like you would say at this point in time.

  • Naresh on April 10, 2017, 8:19 GMT

    The ever tenacious Younis Khan. He stands high as one of the best for pakistan. His Test batting exemplified that more than any other type. HopemPakistan can find a true test match player of this calibre. One of the oldest players on current circuit will retire but till this day can grind out a 100 quite easily. Indian Fan

  • Mohammad Zamin on April 9, 2017, 22:15 GMT

    @badboycricfan - very good point my friend. @siddarth - Only a friendly cricket discussion my friend, we will never truely know which of our teams are better as we only meet in limited overs once every few years.

  •   badboycricfan on April 9, 2017, 14:00 GMT

    @ SIDDHARTH110575 well mate Saeed Anwar is certainly there among the 12 with Zaheer Abbas and Abdul Qadir also right up there...

  •   badboycricfan on April 9, 2017, 13:52 GMT

    @ SIDDHARTH110575 well mate Saeed Anwar is certainly there among the 12 with Zaheer Abbas and Abdul Qadri also there...

  •   badboycricfan on April 9, 2017, 13:32 GMT

    @SIDDHARTH110575 every one is entitled to his/her own opinion similarly are you but as Mohammad Zain mentioned as good batsmen as Azhar and Shafiq are with averages in mid to late 40s despite having toured Aus Nz and Eng in last 8 months and the greatness of YK and Misbah join that with brilliant young talents like Sami Aslam and Babar Azam and Sarfaraz with gilchristique start to his career with avg. 42 and strike rate close to 80 makes this batting line up the strongest... you may think ind batting as best but no they'd be rolled over in English and Oz and Nz conditions(remember they were even rolled over by Oz in 1st 3 inns in ind) while eng and Oz have still young batting line ups and southafrican batting line up well past their prime Pakistan did have the best batting in the world...

  •   badboycricfan on April 9, 2017, 13:27 GMT

    @SIDDHARTH110575 every one is entitled to his/her own opinion similarly are you but as Mohammad Zain mentioned as good batsmen as Azhar and Shafiq are with averages in mid to late 40s despite having toured Aus Nz and Eng in last 8 months and the greatness of YK and Misbah join that with brilliant young talents like Sami Aslam and Babar Azam and Sarfaraz with gilchristique start to his career with avg. 42 and strike rate close to 80 makes this batting line up the strongest... you may think ind batting as best but no they'd be rolled over in English and Oz and Nz conditions(remember they were even rolled over by Oz in 1st 3 inns in ind) while eng and Oz have still young batting line ups and southafrican batting line up well past their prime Pakistan did have the best batting in the world...

  • siddharth110575 on April 9, 2017, 13:07 GMT

    @ badboycricfan - well, quite an imposing list and have to agree with your selections! If possible I would squeeze in Saeed Anwar there as No.11