Younis Khan’s illustrious 17-year-old career came to a fitting end on Sunday (May 14) when Pakistan registered a historic Test series win over West Indies following their 101 runs win in the final match. The legendary batsman, along with captain Misbah-ul-Haq announced his retirement from Test cricket after the end of the three-match series.
With 10099 runs in 118 Tests, Younis is arguably the greatest Test batsman from Pakistan. But despite being one of the best and senior-most players in his team in the second-half of his career, the 39-year old never showed interest in leading the side. He had led the Men in Green to their maiden World T20I title in 2009 but soon gave up on captaincy due to a rift in the dressing room. After few months, the captaincy was handed to Misbah-ul-Haq and the rest is history.
However, Younis, in a conversation with ESPNCricinfo, said that he doesn’t regret giving up on Pakistan captaincy. The right-handed batsman said that he would have struggled to score heavily as he did if he had continued to lead the side.
“But I think, whatever happens, happens for the best. Had I been captain maybe I wouldn’t have scored all these runs. People think that maybe I carry these regrets, but no. Had I done more, who knows whether I would be where I am today? If I had been captain for so long, maybe I would’ve been too distracted by other duties to score as many runs as I did,” he said.
“All the cricket I’ve played – for the club, department, association, county, in Australia, wherever – when I’m gone if you ask any of them, they won’t be able to say that Younis Khan left something in the tank. I gave 200% everywhere I played,” he added.
One of the few players to cross the 10,000-run mark in Test cricket, Younis said that the desire to achieve the milestone motivated him to not hang his boots two-three years ago. His decision was nothing less than a blessing for Pakistan cricket as he played an integral role in helping Pakistan reach the pinnacle of Test cricket for the first time last year since the ranking was introduced.
“Two-three years ago, I was about to retire but I got the motivation to try and get to 10,000 runs. As a captain, player, junior, senior, I put it all out there, whatever I had. Whatever I could, with the bat, ball, in the field. No regrets either. We won a world title, we beat Australia, levelled a series in England. We performed, I performed so there’s nothing left that I really wanted to do,” Younis said.
Younis made it clear that he is all but sure of not getting involved with the game post-retirement. He also reiterated the fact that Pakistan should have a players’ association and vowed his support in case the association is started. The former batsman had spoken keenly of helping set up a players’ association when he was appointed skipper of the team in 2009.
“Believe me – I think, in all, I’ve given 27-28 years of my life to cricket,” said Younis. “So I have nothing in my mind about any future plans to get back into cricket. I don’t know if I’ll have any energy left after I leave to give to cricket.
“A players’ association should happen for sure, but I don’t think I have the energy to be able to do something like this. We should do this, and if others start it up, then I will stand by them for sure,” he said.