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Younis Khan (left) and Misbah-ul-Haq were not immensely gifted, but when it comes to hard work, you will not see many bigger names in Pakistan cricket AFP

Every Pakistani kid grows up with a bat and ball in his hand. We play cricket at our homes, in our schools, in colleges, in universities, on roads, in the grounds: let us just say we keep finding places to play cricket.

And we have idols. There are the super-talented ones; and then, there are those who are not as god-gifted but their work ethic is so strong that they overcome every single obstacle that crosses their path.

This is the story of two men, significantly different from each other but great ambassadors of the nation and of cricket. More importantly, for me, they have been excellent teachers.

If I have to sum it up the lesson they both taught I would say hard work and never give up.

Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq are the biggest names of Pakistan cricket of the last decade. They were not immensely gifted, but when it comes to hard work, you will not see many bigger names in Pakistan cricket.

Younis Khan

I was 13 when Younis made his debut in Test and ODI cricket. I still remember his first matches: he made a century on Test debut and made 24 in his first ODI.

In the presence of some of the greats like Saeed Anwar, Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq, it must have been very challenging for him to cement his place in the team. However, he seemed at ease. He remained underrated, hidden behind some of the biggest names in Pakistan history; and he continued to remain overlooked till he became the first Pakistani to reach 10,000 Test runs. #MisYou: Thanks for everything, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq

Younis was also the captain when Pakistan won the 2009 World T20 in England, but he retired from T20Is thereafter. He played Test cricket for 17 years, but one thing that was different in him then the rest were his dedication and hard work. Younis proved himself again and again that how worthy he is of that legend tag. If you want to learn one thing from Younis Khan it is hard work.


Misbah made his debut in 2001 at 27, but was forgotten very quickly: the Pakistan middle-order was extremely strong at that point. Most would have got disheartened at that. In a country like Pakistan if you are 27 and you have not made it big in any sport, all you hear is to find an alternative profession and settle down. Pakistan in West Indies 2017: Marks out of 10 for the tourists after historic win

But Misbah was not an ordinary man. He was a man with immense self-belief. He is a living example of a man who never gave up even when everything went against him.

He worked so hard that the selectors eventually had to call him back for the 2007 World T20. He was 33. Since then he has never looked back: he first played T20Is before getting selected for ODIs and Tests. Then he was made captain of the Pakistan Test side in perhaps the most difficult time in its history. Pakistan vs West Indies 2017: Marks out of 10 for the hosts

Misbah led Pakistan in ODIs after the retirement of Shahid Afridi. He made Pakistan the top-ranked side in the world despite the fact that Pakistan were not allowed to play any cricket on home soil. I may not agree with his batting approach or his captaincy, I cannot help but acknowledge his contribution to Pakistan cricket.

Misbah will always remain the most successful captain in Pakistan Test history. I will remember his lesson forever: if you do not give up, dreams do come true.