Younis Khan raises his bat after completing his century, his second consecutive, during Pakistan's second innings in the first Test against Australia © Getty Images
Younis Khan raises his bat after completing his century, his second one of the match © Getty Images

With his twin tons, Younis Khan has brought Pakistan to the brink of victory at Dubai. Abhishek Mukherjee tries to evaluate the batsman in numbers.

Younis Khan has the most Test hundreds for Pakistan. Younis is also the first Pakistan batsman to score two hundreds in a Test outside Pakistan. Put a cut-off of a thousand Test runs, and Younis’ average of 52.48 is marginally second on the list, behind only Javed Miandad’s 52.57. They are also the only Pakistanis to feature in the list of top ten averages with a 7,000-run cut-off.

When Arunabha Sengupta and I got together to create an all-time Pakistan XI, we were at the receiving end of criticism. Few are satisfied with XIs, hence the flak was expected. One of the arguments we were up against was the inclusion of Younis over Zaheer Abbas and Mohammad Yousuf.

How good a batsman is Younis? Let us go for that oft-used parameter — records away from home — for batsmen after World War II. Let us also leave out Zimbabwe and Bangladesh as venues. Some may argue that Sri Lanka were pushovers in their early days, but it must be remembered here that of their first ten decided series at home they had won four and lost six; this included series wins against India, New Zealand, and England.

Let us come to the most astonishing statistic: of the 92 Tests Younis has played, 63 has been outside his home country. The count of 63 excludes the ten Tests played in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Younis averages 46.97 away from home. The number is impressive but not phenomenal. The phenomenal aspect of it is that he is one of only ten men to have scored over 5,000 runs away from home. All others, barring Viv Richards, have gone past the 10,000-run mark.

Batsmen with 5,000 Test runs:

Player Overseas runs Career runs %
Younis Khan

5,026

7,819

64.3%

Viv Richards

5,404

8,540

63.3%

Rahul Dravid

6,655

13,288

50.1%

Sunil Gavaskar

5,055

10,122

49.9%

Allan Border

5,431

11,174

48.6%

Sachin Tendulkar

7,645

15,921

48.0%

Steve Waugh

5,066

10,927

46.4%

Brian Lara

5,514

11,953

46.1%

Jacques Kallis

5,688

13,289

42.8%

Ricky Ponting

5,578

13,378

41.7%

Miandad, the only other Pakistani to have scored over 4,000 Test runs away from home, had scored 8,832 career runs. The corresponding proportion for him, thanks to 4,351 overseas runs, reads 49.3%. There can hardly be doubt over the sheer volume of Tests he has played overseas.

Some may argue that Younis’ overseas runs have a lot to do with the fact that a chunk of them have been played at UAE. Let us, then, level the battlegrounds and consider only career averages against Australia, England, India, and South Africa (the four most difficult countries to travel) at their den in the 21st century. How have the top batsmen fared in comparison to the greats and potential greats?

21st century batsmen with 1,500 overseas Test runs in Australia, India, South Africa, and Sri Lanka

Player M R Ave 100s
Hashim Amla

19

2,216

76.41

9

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

29

2,514

54.65

7

Sachin Tendulkar

31

2,783

52.51

7

Alastair Cook

27

2,441

51.94

9

Graeme Smith

29

2,534

49.69

7

Younis Khan

22

1,986

49.65

5

AB de Villiers

21

1,588

49.63

4

Rahul Dravid

32

2,609

47.44

7

Jacques Kallis

29

2,225

46.35

6

Matthew Hayden

27

2,119

45.09

5

Despite the odds heavily stacked against him, Younis has never flinched from his responsibilities. He has converted his fifties into hundreds, and has become the highest century-getter for Pakistan — more than Miandad or Inzamam-ul-Haq despite having scored approximately a thousand runs less than each. The numbers for the top four Pakistan batsmen tell the story (Saleem Malik, the next on the list, is on 15 hundreds).

Most Test hundreds by Pakistani batsmen:

Player M R Ave 100s Dismissals/100
Younis Khan

92

7,820

52.48

26

5.73

Inzamam-ul-Haq

119

8,829

50.16

25

7.04

Mohammad Yousuf

90

7,530

52.29

24

6.00

Javed Miandad

124

8,832

52.57

23

7.30

Do note the frequency at which Younis scores his hundreds. The count of 5.73 is quite high on the list of batsmen who have scored 26 or more hundreds.

Most Test hundreds:

Player M R Ave 100s Dismissals/100
Don Bradman

52

6,996

99.94

29

2.41

Jacques Kallis

166

13,289

55.37

45

5.33

Garry Sobers

93

8,032

57.78

26

5.35

Kumar Sangakkara

128

11,988

58.76

37

5.51

Matthew Hayden

103

8,625

50.74

30

5.67

Younis Khan

92

7,819

52.48

26

5.73

Sachin Tendulkar

200

15,921

53.79

51

5.80

Sunil Gavaskar

125

10,122

51.12

34

5.82

Michael Clarke

106

8,242

51.19

27

5.96

Ricky Ponting

168

13,378

51.85

41

6.29

Brian Lara

131

11,953

52.89

34

6.65

Steve Waugh

168

10,927

51.06

32

6.69

Mahela Jayawardene

149

11,814

49.85

34

6.97

Rahul Dravid

164

13,288

52.31

36

7.06

Graeme Smith

117

9,265

48.26

27

7.11

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

158

11,684

53.11

30

7.33

Allan Border

156

11,174

50.56

27

8.19

Let us, then, return to our original argument: is Younis Khan Pakistan’s greatest batsman? We have already seen Younis having the second-best average (marginally behind Miandad’s) among Pakistanis. Let us now check figures away from Pakistan.

Best averages for Pakistani batsmen away from Pakistan (1,000 Test runs):

Player M R Ave 100s
Younis Khan

73

5,921

50.61

19

Misbah-ul-Haq

44

3,212

48.67

5

Inzamam-ul-Haq

70

5,120

47.85

14

Mohammad Yousuf

58

4,463

46.01

12

Javed Miandad

64

4,351

45.80

9

Ah, I guess we hear the bloated argument again — the this-average-has-been-bloated-by-his-records-in-UAE one. Let us drop neutral venues and check again:

Player M R Ave 100s
Younis Khan

54

4,345

50.52

12

Inzamam-ul-Haq

67

4,820

46.80

13

Javed Miandad

64

4,351

45.80

9

Saeed Anwar

27

2,135

45.43

7

Misbah-ul-Haq

27

1,907

45.40

3

To think of it — they have dropped him from the 50-over side!

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)