Younis Khan: 11 facts you must know about the smiling assassin

Younis Khan, born on November 29, 1977, is one of the greatest batsmen produced by Pakistan. He is Pakistan’s leading century-maker in Test cricket and is on the threshold of being their highest run-scorer. Since the early 2000s, he has been the fulcrum of the batting and has occupied the crucial No 3 spot in Test cricket.

Nishad Pai Vaidya picks 11 facts one must know about the solid batsman.

1. Blooms under the guidance of Rashid Latif 

Younis Khan grew up in Karachi, Pakistan’s port city. As a young boy, he used to travel miles to get to cricket games. Rashid Latif, the Pakistan wicketkeeper, was Younis’ mentor and guided him through his younger years. As fate would have it, they went on to become teammates for Pakistan.

2. Represents Peshawar 

Despite playing all his cricket in Karachi and spending his young days in the city, Younis could not take his cricket to the next level. For that, he had to go back to his motherland in the North West Frontier Province. Younis is a Pathan and was born in Mardhan in NWFP. He played for Peshawar under-19s and by 1999, he made his First-Class debut for them.

3. Hundred on Test debut

After only one season in domestic cricket, Younis was summoned by Pakistan in February 2000. On ODI debut, he hit 46. However, he had a more memorable Test debut as he hit 107 in the second innings against Sri Lanka. Sadly, Pakistan lost on both occasions.

4. Most catches by a substitute fielder

In 2001, Younis was on as a substitute for Pakistan in the Multan Test. Saeed Anwar, who had scored a century, had lost his daughter during the game and had to return home. In Bangladesh’s second innings, Younis had to be on the field for a long time and made the most of it. He took four catches, all off the bowling of leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, to equal the record of the most catches taken by a substitute in a Test match. He equaled Gursharan Singh’s record, who did it for India against West Indies in 1983. However, it remains the record for the most catches in an innings by a substitute. He beat Bert Strudwick’s 97-year-old record of three.

5. Revels against arch-rival India

Younis loves playing against India. He averages 88.06 against India in Test cricket, his best against any side. He has scored 1321 runs in nine Tests with five tons and four fifties. In India, he averages 76.80, which is his best in any country barring Bangladesh. In ODIs as well, he has been most effective against India, scoring three of his six centuries against the arch-rivals.

6. Spell of three for five in County Cricket

Younis once recorded a spell of three wickets for five runs in a one-day game between Nottinghamshire and Gloucestershire in 2005. Younis bowled only three overs and was handed the ball when Gloucestershire were already seven down for not too many. He took the last three wickets, which included that of West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan to bowl Gloucestershire out for 87. This was his first one-day game for Nottinghamshire.

7. The 35-second over!

Younis is an occasional bowler, who dabbles with a bit of leg-spin and medium pace. During a County Championship match in 2007, Younis bowled an over in 35 seconds, as per Wisden. Younis’ team Yorkshire were trying to avoid a slow over-rate penalty and were trying to get as many overs in after a rain delay. Surely, Younis’ efforts would have helped them!

8. Represents Rajasthan Royals

Younis isn’t a renowned T20 player, but during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008, Younis was a part of the Rajasthan Royals. Kamran Akmal and Sohail Tanvir were the other Pakistan players in that Shane Warne-led side. As Rajasthan had a settled side, Younis could only play one game for them. He was away for a major part of the season due to personal reasons. That remains the only IPL season where Pakistan players featured.

9. Plays through pain

Younis had had to endure quite a few tragedies in his personal life. During the tour to Australia in 2004-05, his father passed away. Younis had to return home. In 2005, his younger brother lost his life in an accident in Ukraine. A year later, when Younis was playing for Pakistan in an ODI against the West Indies, his elder brother, Mohammad Sharif, died in Germany. In 2011, he was getting ready to face West Indies in the Caribbean when he received the news of the passing of his elder brother Shamshad. Then in 2014, just after he had made his comeback in an ODI against Sri Lanka, his nephew died.

10. Plays for South Australia

In late 2008, Younis represented South Australia in the Sheffield Shield. In his maiden First-Class innings for them, he hit 118. In all, he played, two First-Class games and three one-day matches for the Adelaide-based side.

11. One of three batsmen to average over 50 in all four innings in Test cricket

Along with the great Don Bradman and Herbert Sutcliffe, Younis averages over 50 in each innings of Test cricket. As of November 29, 2014, his numbers read: 54.25 (First), 56.54 (Second), 50.34 (Third) and 52.81 (Fourth).

Note: On October 13, 2015 Younis Khan scripted history when he surpassed Javed Miandad’s record of highest run-scorer for Pakistan in Test cricket when he overtook his tally of 8,832 runs in a Test match against England.  

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)