"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: abdulruff
Full Name: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal
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Miles to Go...

: Focus on Pakistan captain Younis Khan


Upon assuming the captaincy of Pakistan cricket, Younis Khan, now the No. 1 Test cricketer of the world, who several times earlier declined to accept the post,  declared he would make all efforts to make Pakistan team solid at par with the one that was created under legendry Imran Khan. Perhaps it was a pleasant surprise to the sport world that Pakistan has come back to action in the cricket fields. The newly appointed captain has resurfaced with big bang with triple centuries plus.   

Pakistan captain Younis Khan on 24 Feb set a plethora of records on his way to a unbeaten 306 on the fourth day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at the National Stadium in Karachi. In reply to Sri Lanka's mammoth first innings total of 644 for seven declared, Younis, made captain in place of Shoaib Malik before the series, produced a marathon display of endurance and focus to take his team to 574 for five at stumps on the penulatimate day to see the match heading towards a dull draw. He spent 731 minutes at the crease to score the unbeaten 306 which came off 545 balls and included 27 fours and four sixes. Sport world was expecting a follow-on from Pakistan team, but not only they avoided that, but also almost snatched the match form the visitors. Younis played with such focus that his innings overshadowed the match saving partnerships of 130 for the fourth wicket and 174 for the fifth wicket he shared with Misbah-ul-Haq (42) and Faisal Iqbal (57) during the day. He created a sort of cricket history.




Now after the first Test against Sri Lanka in Karachi , Younis Khan has replaced Chanderpaul as No. 1 Test batsman. Pakistan captain Younis Khan's triple hundred in the drawn Karachi Test against Sri Lanka catapulted him to the top of the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen of the world. Younis batted for nearly 13 hours in Karachi to become just the third Pakistan player in history to get past the 300-run mark in a single Test innings after Hanif Mohammad (337 v West Indies at Bridgetown in 1958) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (329 v New Zealand at Lahore in 2002).



The 306 is also Younis' highest Test score after 267 against India at Bangalore in 2005. It was also the first time that any batsman has scored a triple century against Sri Lanka in Tests. Younis also became the first Pakistani captain to score a triple hundred, providing the 23rd instance of a triple ton in Test matches. His 306 is also the highest score in an innings by a Pakistani captain, surpassing Wasim Akram's 257 against Zimbabwe at Sheikhupura in 1996. Younis's innings , coupled with Jayawardene's 240 in the Sri Lankan first essay, was the first instance of two rival captains scoring double hundreds in the same match.



Younis was the only real mover in the top 20 of the rankings although Mahela Jayawardena's double hundred in the same match means he stays in fourth position as Australia 's Michael Clarke drops two places to fifth position. Having been knocked off his number-one perch, West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul is now in second spot with Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka in third. Younis Khan scored his triple century by the ball from Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardena.



Younis also entered the elite 5000-run club in Test cricket in his 59th match, the fastest by a Pakistani batsman after Javed Miandad who reached the feat in 65 Tests. He also became the fifth Pakistani batsman to have completed 5000 Test runs.

Younis took full advantage of the pure batting track as he frustrated the Lankan bowlers with his combination of shots and stout defence.




Pakistan's 2-1 defeat in the one-day series against Sri Lanka last month forced the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to replace Malik with Younis. Many believed Younis would never lead Pakistan again after he turned down an offer of the captaincy following team's shock first-round defeat in the 2007 World Cup held in the West Indies. Pakistan also lost their admirable coach, Bob Woolmer, who died in the team's Jamaica hotel following their humiliating defeat against minnows Ireland. Left with no choice, cricket authorities inducted young Shoaib Malik, who failed to get along with seniors as problems mounted for Pakistan . Some top players, including ace batsman Mohammad Yousuf, were unavailable for selection after they joined the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL), and the team continued to fare poorly at international level.



Earlier, Younis resigned from the captaincy before the Champions Trophy 2006, saying he did not want to be a "dummy" captain. This time around, Younis, who was also reluctant to lead Pakistan on a tour of India when Malik was injured in 2007, was more determined. "This is our team and we will have to work hard to lift it. I don't fear losing; if we lose I will make no excuses but everyone must support us," said Younis after accepting the captaincy. "I am straightforward, open minded and will not let the team spirit down. We have to build this team and even if we lose some key players, it will not sag our spirits because you can't have seniors with you all the time." Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad believes Younis Khan's match-saving 313 against Sri Lanka in the first Test is the batsman's best knock yet. Miandad pointed out that despite the flat track of the National Stadium it wasn't easy to score runs against Muttiah Muralitharan, the highest wicket-taker in Test and one-day cricket. Miandad, who is Pakistan 's highest run-getter in Tests with 8832 runs from 124 matches, said Younis's marathon innings under pressure brought Pakistan back from the jaws of defeat. He and his team was under a lot of pressure after Sri Lanka scored 644 in the first innings. But the way Younis batted is really commenadable.




Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif expressed great confidence in Younis. "Younis taking the responsibility and leading from the front augurs well for Pakistan cricket. He doesn't demand respect, he commands it and this is the best quality for a captain," said Latif, widely regarded as Younis's mentor. Wasim Akram, another former Pakistan captain, believes Younis can bring home the laurels. "Younis showed that records matter less and team comes first. I think if he stays as captain, Pakistan can win the 2011 World Cup," said Wasim. He was referring to two records that came within striking distance for Younis this week -- Hanif Mohammad's Test score of 337 runs for Pakistan in 1958 and Brian Lara's world record of 400 in 2004.

Latif said Younis will provide Pakistan with back-up players. "His heart is clean and he truly wants to help Pakistan cricket. For him, a senior and a junior player are the same and he will also prepare back-up players for the future.. For him, the team is like his family," said Latif. Younis has also supported his real family after losing two of his brothers, one in an accident, a sister and his father in the last five years.



Captain Younis Khans was not aiming at trouncing the records of Brian Lara or any body else, he just was concentrating on saving Pakistan’s prestige and was only keen to uplift his team morale with more runs. "I am not someone who plays for records. I am a team-person and I have no regrets over getting out for 313 runs. I am more satisfied that we ended the Test match on a positive note," Younis said after the match. Pakistan captain Younis Khan said he has no regret over falling short of Hanif Mohammad's national record and West Indies great Brian Lara's 400 during the first Test against Sri Lanka that ended in a draw at National Stadium. The 31-year-old Younis's marathon innings of 12 hours and 48 minutes not only helped Pakistan draw the match but elevated him to the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) batsmen's rankings. But more than his batting, Younis's fearless attitude and positive approach suggests he is the man to lead Pakistan cricket out of a turbulent period. In two years Younis Khan has gone from shunning the captaincy of Pakistan 's cricket to being hailed last week as its savior after his epic 313 runs in the first Test against Sri Lanka this week.



Younis has to be extremely cautious now. Younis will have to continue to score heavily to maintain his stay at the top because he has a very slender one-point lead at the top with almost every player in the top 10. Surely, a dedicated Younis will move upward and forward.



It is to the credit of Younis Khan that the Pakistan team has now got a global credibility after years of slackness and glow it had under Khan is returning back. Cricket world should shed its anti-Pakistan stance and view its matches positively. Indians criticized the Pakistan’s pitches only when Pakistan began scoring well and not while Srilanka was smashing nicely. This double-standard must be wiped out of sports.  


Yours Sincerely,


Columnist & Independent Researcher in World Affairs, The only Indian to have gone through entire India

South Asia.

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