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Well played!

Pakistan cricket has produced many great combinations which took Pakistan forward. Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan was the latest pair

Well played!

Finally Pakistan cricket team under Misbah-ul-Haq conquered the West Indian fort, winning their first-ever Test series on Caribbean soil 2-1. With the historic win, Pakistan’s most successful captain Misbah-ul-Haq and highest Test run-getter Younis Khan said goodbye to international cricket.

Pakistan cricket has produced many great combinations which took Pakistan forward. Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, and Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf. Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan was the latest pair.

Younis and Misbah scored 3213 runs in 53 innings together with 15 century partnerships at a high average of 68.36. No other pair has had over 10 century stands for Pakistan in Test cricket.

Only two pairs — England’s Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe and Australia’s Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting — scored more runs in partnership than Misbah and Younis.

Misbah and Younis’ highest partnership of 218 came against Sri Lanka during the first Test in 2013. Against Sri Lanka’s total of 204 in the first innings Pakistan slipped to 83-3 when Younis and Misbah both scored hundreds and put Pakistan into a dominant position but the match ended in a draw.

Unfortunately, Misbah did not get an opportunity to lead the side at home as no international team has visited Pakistan since the attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009.

The third Test win against West Indies was Pakistan’s 26th victory under Misbah’s leadership. He left Imran Khan and Javed Miandad far behind who led Pakistan to only 14 wins. Under Misbah Pakistan Test team reached the top position in the ICC Test team ranking last year.

Misbah, who made his Test debut against New Zealand at Auckland in March 2001, ended his career with 5222 runs in 75 matches at an average of 46.62, including 10 hundred and 39 half-centuries.

Before taking charge of Test team, Misbah’s batting average was 33 in 19 matches with two centuries and four fifties. While leading the side, he scored 4214 runs at an average of 51.39, hitting eight centuries and 35 half-centuries.

Misbah captained Pakistan in 56 Tests, won 26, lost 19 and drew 11, at a winning rate of 44.64. During his around seven years as captain, he missed just two matches and that too because of suspension for slow over rate. Misbah is only the second player to have hit five centuries and scored over 2000 runs after turning 40. England former batsman Sir Jack Hobbs was the first cricketer who scored over 2000 runs after 40.

Misbah is also the oldest captain to score a century in Test cricket. He scored a ton at the age of 42 years and 47 days against England at Lord’s in 2016.

Misbah scored 4214 runs as Pakistan captain in 56 Tests, which is the most by any Asian captain in Tests. He also holds the record of hitting 76 sixes in Test cricket after 35 years of age which is the most by any player after crossing that age. He is the only batsman in Test cricket to hit 50-plus sixes after turning 35. Misbah’s 72 sixes as captain in Test cricket is also a record. His 81 sixes in Test cricket are also the most by any Pakistani batsman.

He is the oldest captain to win a Test in the last 70 years, and overall the third oldest after WG Grace and WR Hammond.

His victories mostly came with an inexperienced attack. Apart from former spinner Saeed Ajmal, no Pakistani bowler available to him had 100 Test wickets. Despite limited resources Misbah never lost a home series. Misbah silenced his critics who accused him of being a defensive batsman by equaling Viv Richards’ 56-ball hundred record. He also has the record of fastest Test fifty — off 21 balls and in 24 minutes, against Australia in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan’s inconsistent top order made his job all the more difficult. In many matches he had to come in to bat very early, with the innings needing consolidation after the loss of early wickets.

In the first Test against West Indies in Kingston, Younis became Pakistan’s first batsman to score 10,000 Test runs. He is the second quickest to complete 10,000 runs as he did it in 116 Tests.  Only former West Indian captain Brian Lara is ahead of him. He reached the five-figure mark in 111 matches.

The ever-smiling batsman is also the oldest batsman to reach five figure mark in Test matches. He was 39 years and 145 days old when he completed 10,000 Test runs. The previous oldest batsman was former West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul who achieved the milestone at 37 years and 254 days.

Younis scored a hundred on his Test debut against Sri Lanka in February 2000 at Rawalpindi, but Pakistan lost the match by two wickets.

The batsman from Mardan ended his Test career with 10,099 runs in 118 appearance with 34 centuries and 33 fifties at an average of 52.05. He also took 139 catches. His 34 Test centuries are also a record among Pakistani players. The next best is 25 by Inzamam.

Younis is the only Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all Test-playing nations. He loved playing against arch-rivals India; in nine Tests against them he scored 1321 runs, including five centuries and four fifties, at a high average of 88.06.

He scored five centuries in fourth innings, the highest in the world. His average while chasing is 53.85. Only Geoff Boycott (58.76) and Sunil Gavaskar (58.25) have a better average in fourth innings. Younis also led Pakistan to the World Twenty20 title in 2009.

Khurram Mahmood

Sports Khurram Mahmood

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