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  1. #1
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    Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan are the pride of Pakistan

    Writing for Sky Sports, Saj looks back at the final chapter of Younis and Misbah's association with a team they gave so much for.




    "All good things must come to an end" is an oft repeated phrase, but in the current context of Pakistan cricket, it easily applies to the last time when Younus Khan and his Test captain, Misbah-ul-Haq graced the field during the recently concluded series in the Caribbean.

    The debt of gratitude that Pakistan cricket owes to the two stalwarts and ambassadors who have served their country with aplomb is not one that can be measured in words alone and it was clearly visible from the sad faces of their team-mates as the two took their last steps off the cricket field in Roseau, Dominica.

    Critics of Misbah-ul-Haq who found it difficult to utter a single word of praise for the Pakistan captain during his almost seven years of leadership are now at a loss to find fault in the man dubbed the saviour of Pakistan cricket. Some of these critics have even resorted to compliments for Misbah.

    And a saviour he was, when in the summer of 2010 Pakistan cricket came face to face with what could only be described as an existential crisis. It was in August of that year that Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt were found to be involved in spot-fixing during Pakistan's tour of England. The international cricket community turned against Pakistan and calls for a complete boycott became common and even erstwhile friends started to turn away in their support.

    It was then that the Pakistan Cricket Board, an organisation historically not always known and appreciated for its wisdom, made a bold decision to appoint Misbah as Pakistan captain. The idea behind this move was to bring in someone with integrity and a calm demeanour to stabilise the team environment, and to ensure that swift repairs could be made to Pakistan's seriously damaged image.

    From a point where Misbah threatened to "burn his cricket kit" at the apparent injustice when it came to his non-selection for the Pakistan Test team in 2010 to being regarded as the most successful Pakistan Test captain, the Misbah story is fascinating and also offers hope for many cricketers who have faced similar disappointments in their careers. Of course, whether it's actually possible to emulate Misbah's longevity and resilience is moot, but the standards of excellence he has set in terms of his character and physical fitness will be very hard to improve upon.



    Younus Khan began his service to Pakistan cricket in February 2000 and the achievement of becoming the highest run-scorer in Tests for his country is an achievement many had foreseen in his early years. When he broke the 10,000-run barrier in Tests, Younus only underlined his value to Pakistan cricket as the bedrock of their success in the Test arena. The uncanny ability to produce an innings of importance when all seemed lost was re-emphasised in the summer of 2016 in England when a double-hundred after a string of low scores helped Pakistan to a series-levelling victory at The Oval.

    Younus has never been a favourite for the establishment, thanks to various run-ins with the PCB but he is and will always remain the people's champion. A proud patriot, he spoke his mind, he played cricket his way and he retired from international cricket on his own terms.

    Younus' meticulous preparation before each game, to his attention to detail during matches, as well as his friendly demeanour towards opponents and team-mates have all added up to give him a reputation and stature which is unlikely to be matched for many years to come. In Younus Khan's retirement, Pakistan will lose more than a gentleman, a role-model, a great cricketer or even a slip-fielder par excellence. The younger batsmen will lose an on-field mentor and the seniors a confidante they could rely on for advice at times of crisis, a very common scenario in Pakistan cricket.




    The final chapter of Younus and Misbah's association with a team they gave so much for was written at the end of the third and final Test match between West Indies and Pakistan. As if there ever was proof needed of what the two cricketers have meant to Pakistan cricket, one would look no further than the spontaneous flow of emotions on the field and around the world as the two master batsmen took their leave in Roseau at the end of a historic Pakistan victory. The farewell to arms made more momentous by the first ever series win by a Pakistan Test side in the Caribbean.

    So how does a team go about filling the void left by the absence of two men with such presence? The simple answer is not easily. For a start, the list of batting candidates who can stand-up and be counted when Pakistan are three down for 10 runs is a rather short one. Apart from Azhar Ali, who now has now scored the highest number of Test runs in the past 12 months, the cupboard for potential Misbah and Younus replacements is rather bare. Asad Shafiq's recent form shows no sign of improvement so the selectors will now be looking towards further replacements.

    In Sarfraz Ahmed, there appears to be a decent replacement for the Test captaincy, although his physical fitness will need to improve if he has ambitions of filling the outgoing skipper's boots. It is quite possible that Pakistan could go back to some of the tried and tested players to fill the gap in experience that is needed for the team. After all, that is how Pakistan re-discovered their acquaintance with Misbah seven years ago, but one does doubt if a man of his abilities and drive will be unearthed in a hurry.




    The next few years for Pakistan's Test team will undoubtedly be tough ones as the team adjusts to the loss of two greats who together were the key factors in Pakistan's rise to the top of the Test rankings in September 2016. The dip in Pakistan's Test form with back-to-back series defeats in New Zealand and Australia and a rather flat showing in the recently concluded series against the West Indies may give the impression that Misbah and Younus' utility was on the decline. However, to replace more than 30 years of combined wisdom from a technically fragile Pakistan line-up is not an easy task and one that many Pakistan fans will be looking ahead with some anxiety.

    As the two battle-hardened veterans bow out of international cricket, they leave cricket lovers around the world with many happy memories, many fantastic performances, a few tears and a fantastic legacy. In the cut-throat and unstable world of Pakistan cricket Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan have been huge and calming characters. As they embark on life away from the Pakistan cricket team, they can put their feet up and look back at their careers with pride and look back at a job well done.

    http://www.skysports.com/cricket/new...edium=referral
    Last edited by Abdul; 15th May 2017 at 15:28.


    You don't burn calories by jumping to conclusions.

  2. #2
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    Indeed they are.


    The words Misbah used for Younis yesterday were classic and what Younis really deserved.


    Both are our Pride & Living legends.


    Thank You Younis & Misbah.


    Mujhay hai Hukm e Azaa-n

  3. #3
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    Legends!

    Misbah will be missed. Specially those day 5 wins. We have had so many.

    That will never be the same.

  4. #4
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    Congratulations to both on two stellar international careers.

  5. #5
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    Congratulations to Misbah in particular.

    Massive respect from India.

  6. #6
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    They were OK, deserved more respect had they retired 2 years ago. Their last two years were good for them personally not for Pakistan cricket.

  7. #7
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    Misbah yes


    But younis has more baggage than afridi


    "Last time Uganda toured Canada, half their team ran away to start a new life" - cricfan967

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pakistanigoneaussie View Post
    Misbah yes


    But younis has more baggage than afridi
    Very unfair, Younis produced even better innings and stats than Misbah in test cricket.
    Last edited by waqar goraya; 16th May 2017 at 10:24.


    " Don't wait. The time will never be just right "

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by waqar goraya View Post
    Very unfair, Younis produced even better innings and stats than Misbah in test cricket.
    no doubt, i have never argued his on field perfromances in test cricket

    But being the 'pride' of country isnt just about on field performances, otherwise KP would be the pride of England


    "Last time Uganda toured Canada, half their team ran away to start a new life" - cricfan967

  10. #10
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    Younis should have been convinced to play for another 1-2 years but then again if his heart was not in it then you can't force him.

  11. #11
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    Congratulations to both for their services. I'm really gonna miss them. Wish them best of luck for the future.

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