Younis could extend career on team's request
Pakistan may not have to suffer the double whammy of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan exiting at the same time if they do not want to. The latter is open to the idea of extending his international career, but only if the Pakistan board and team needs him to do so. Younis raised the possibility ahead of Pakistan's Test in Jamaica, having hinted at it during the announcement of his retirement in Karachi two weeks ago.
"Yeah, I will think about it," Younis told cricket.com.au before the first Test. "It all depends on if my team needs me. If they request me or people want me then why not? But it all depends on my team."
Given his experience and recent Test form, and given that a tour to Bangladesh this summer will provide a far sterner test of their batting than tours past, a case can be readily made for wanting Younis to stay on. If he scores runs in this Test series, that is likely to increase calls for him to stay on though Younis has said he would prefer to leave with people wanting more from him, rather than overstaying. The selection committee, headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq will also play a role - Inzamam is known to have been keen to move on beyond both Misbah and Younis after the Caribbean tour.
Younis announced his decision to retire at the end of the West Indies tour earlier this month, only two days after Misbah did. Together the two batsmen brought close to 190 matches worth of experience to the side, with Younis on the verge of becoming the first Pakistan batsman to score 10,000 Test runs.
An example of the influence the pair had on the side came during their tour to England last year, when the side drew the Test series 2-2 and briefly gained the No. 1 ranking. Misbah scored a crucial first-innings hundred at Lord's in the first Test, while Younis' 218 in the fourth Test at The Oval, helped Pakistan cling on to the series after two defeats. Their contributions earned them places on Wisden's list of Five Cricketers of the Year.
In a column for cricket.com.au ahead of the first Test, Misbah also made public his feeling that the team still needed Younis and that he could continue playing for a year or two.
"I talked to him about it in Australia and told him that 'You can play on'," Misbah wrote. "Even though we have some very good youngsters in the team, the gap left by Younis' absence will be difficult to fill.
"The Pakistan team will not just miss him as a batsman, they'll also miss him as a mentor. He has been a terrific role model for everyone and it will be very tough to replace him. Every member of this team, including myself, has learnt a lot from him. He has changed our dressing room culture. If one wants to be successful in professional life, one only needs to regard Younis Khan's organised and punctual lifestyle from breakfast to bed."
The speculation around Younis' retirement after the tour of Australia was not as intense as it had been for Misbah, who battled poor form on the tour and came away with a 0-3 series defeat. After scoring an unbeaten 175 in the third Test in Sydney, Younis had said his future plans would depend on what the team needed from him. In April, while announcing his intention to retire, Younis said: "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."
One of Pakistan's modern batting greats, Younis' 17-year-long Test career saw him play 115 Test matches with 9977 runs and 34 Test hundreds, the most by a Pakistan batsman. Younis' personal best of 313 - against Sri Lanka in 2009 - is the third-highest score by a Pakistan batsman, after Hanif Mohammad's 337 and Inzamam-ul-Haq's 329.