My humble farewell for two cricketing greats, consummate professionals and above all gentlemen of the highest caliber.
Hats off to Younis Khan and Mishbah-ul-Haq as they walk into the sunset of two storied careers (Misbah might not have the sheer weight of runs as Younis did but his contributions to Pakistani cricket are immeasurable).
What a fitting way to hang up your boots! Pakistan won the 3rd and final test, on the final day, the penultimate over of the day and the final ball of that over to create history by winning their first ever test series in the Caribbean. Talk about bidding adieu to the game on a high note!
Younis Khan – Professionalism be thy middle name. This champion batsman was the mainstay and the rock of Gibraltar of the ever so temperamental and fragile Pakistani batting lineup for over a decade and half. His record speaks for his achievements with over 10000 runs amassed at a splendid average of 52.
He was fitter than the rest of the team at any given moment throughout his career and I suspect his 40 year old body might have been the fittest of the lot even on his final day in Dominica!
And what about that 1000 watt smile which seldom left his face and had an infectious quality about it! Cricket played in the proper spirit, the right attitude and the correct technique were the hallmarks of this Pathan from Khyber Pakhtunwa.
Misbah-up-Haq – Born to lead. This genial soft spoken man who made his mark in international cricket relatively late in his career and upon whom captaincy was thrust rather abruptly is arguably the best thing that happened to Pakistani cricket in the last decade after they were plunged into a maelstrom of match fixing, terrorism and infighting.
He led by example (both on and off the field), put a price on his wicket, mentored the youngsters every step of the way, and slowly but surely lifted the team out of that looming existential crisis.
A gentleman to the core, he epitomized the archetypal leader who is sage, measured, sets the trend and puts the team ahead of himself on all occasions.
He shall be missed not just by Pakistani cricket but cricket in general. Characters like him make cricket the sport it is.
The most successful Pakistani test captain with 24 test wins to show for from his 48 outings leading the side!
Under his able stewardship, Pakistan became the top ranking test team in 2016 an unthinkable feat and one that needs to be appreciated considering Pakistani cricket had touched rock bottom a few moons ago.
Two wonderful servants of Pakistani cricket…..I hope they remain connected with the game in Pakistan because Pakistan will need this extraordinary set of gentlemen to groom the next generation of Pakistani cricketers ‘in their image’. If that happens then Pakistani cricket and cricket in general will be in safe hands.