Finally, the inevitable final day of Younis Khan’s International career is about to come. Before Younis, Pakistan produced many greats of the game but almost none of them could manage to feature in a match of their own choosing as the final match of their career.
I was fortunate and felt honored to be present at Younis Khan’s retirement announcement. It was one of those rare moments in Pakistan history when one of Pakistan’s finest players enjoyed the privilege to gather his family and friends to announce the retirement. Test careers aside, it was a rare achievement in Pakistan Cricket in itself and that was just a small illustration of his character.
Many great players came, many will come but it will be hard to find another character like Younis Khan in Pakistan Cricket.
At his retirement press conference, Younis recapped and summarized his whole career and it felt like rewinding back in time and replaying one of the most motivational movies anyone can ever script.
Many great players came, many will come but it will be hard to find another character like Younis Khan in Pakistan Cricket
It felt better than any award of honor when Younis mentioned me and relationship with me in early part of his career. Knowing Younis since his early age, one thing I know about him is his humility and modesty.
Being his usual humble and modest self, he did not mention quite a few things about his life and career which I am privy of and which qualifies him to be a role model for others.
I have known him since the age of 15 when he came to our club. The thing that I noticed in him, right away, was how much he loved to play Cricket on the field but how much he wanted to be part of Cricket off the field as well. For others, Cricket was just sports, for Younis, it looked like life.
He was full of desire for Cricket and love for his motherland.
All he ever wanted to do was to play for Pakistan. Fittingly, he is finishing his career with hardly any batting record and accolades left, that any other Pakistani has achieved in 65 years history of Pakistan in International Cricket.
A lot has already been said and written about his Cricketing achievements and definitely, a lot will be said in the future as well. But beneath all those records and achievements, lies the fundamental ingredient that made Younis Khan capture all those achievements. That ingredient is his strength of character.
I had the privilege of watching Younis becoming Younis Khan. We both have covered a long journey and along the way, we had our share of differences as well, which are always good for any productive association.
He always carried his own principles and was never willing to compromise on them, even with me.
Our natures and temperament were pretty much similar. Like Younis said, he tried also to imitate me at the start of his career and I had thought that he may not be able to have a long career with such characteristics.
I thought he would play till 2004 or 20005, at the most, but one thing that I underestimated about him was his ability to take on the challenges and his resilience to overcome them.
Younis Khan is the only player in Pakistan who played as many as more than 100 Test matches but never compromised on his principles. Pakistan produced many greats of the game who served the country for record number of matches but if equated on the basis of character, Younis Khan’s character outshines all others.
Focus, dedication and hard work are required to flourish in any field. Like professionals of other fields, Cricketers are also humans and like others, family affairs play a vital role in performance of a Cricketer as well. Throughout his career, Younis Khan faced challenges not only on the field but in his family life as well
Younis Khan’s services for Pakistan are spotless. He is the kind of character that should have been highlighted and promoted by our media. Pakistani media, while it promoted and glorified the names who brought disrepute to Pakistan, it never highlighted Younis Khan as much as his services and sacrifices for Pakistan deserved. Why Pakistani media failed to do justice to Younis Khan’s services leaves a big question for our media.
Focus, dedication and hard work are required to flourish in any field. Like professionals of other fields, Cricketers are also humans and like others, family affairs play a vital role in performance of a Cricketer as well. Throughout his career, Younis Khan faced challenges not only on the field but in his family life as well.
He had to face multiple such events that could have shaken up the focus and dedication of any human being. Mardan is his home town which is quite far from my home town, Karachi. I visited his home town six times but it is a sad fact that all of those visits happened to attend funeral of one of his close relatives.
For not once, I got the chance to visit his home town for recreational purposes. Anyone who comes on top of challenges at work and at home like Younis Khan has managed all throughout his career, can never be stated as an ordinary man.
At the start of his career, Younis was slated more as an ordinary talent and almost everyone expected him to have an ordinary career and finish without any extra ordinary achievement. Younis has proved all of them wrong with his hard work, dedication and self-discipline. Younis Khan is not an ordinary man.
He is an illustration of correctness and strength of character. He is a role model for not only future Cricketers but for any human being who is willing to walk the path of success without compromising on his integrity or principles and to achieve more than what one’s talent can.
We are bound to find better batsman than Younis Khan but it is the replacement of his character that we need more because the character of Younis Khan is simply priceless.