Pakistan veteran Younis Khan has decided to walk away from international cricket after the forthcoming three-match Test series against West Indies, bringing an end to an illustrious 17-year career. He made public his decision in Karachi on Saturday (April 8), two days after the most successful Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq called it quits.
“Every player has to retire one day,” Younis said. “Excellent cricketers bid adieu to the game but the show went on. I will continue to serve Pakistan after my retirement. I was under a lot of pressure, getting calls from everyone. But there comes a time in a player’s life when they have to make a decision. “I have always tried to keep my head high and serve the way a Pakistani player should serve his country. Those who know me, know that. I have tried to serve Pakistan the best [I could] and take Pakistan one step forward. If I have made any mistakes, I hope they will be ignored,” he added.
“This isn’t something sudden, this was always building up and few of my close friends knew it. Although I had a plan to retire after surpassing Javed bhai’s [Miandad] runs record, then I was motivated to complete 10,000 runs so I have decided to get them. The reason I announced it beforehand was people start asking me for more, they could then ask me to take 11,000 or 12,000 or I may start thinking about reaching Sachin’s 15,000 runs. Humans can never be satisfied but I am not of an age to make it that far, so I want people to respect my decision and allow me to fulfil my future plans.
“I always tried to be a good ambassador and serve my country to take it one step forward,” Younis said. “If I’ve ever made a mistake in my career, if I’ve forgotten something, or done something wrong, please think of me as one of your own and forgive me, ignore me and let’s move on.”
Misbah and Younis, who both also featured on Wisden’s prestigious Cricketers of the Year list on Wednesday, shares a combined experience of more than 190 Test matches, and the absence of both of them will surely have an impact on the Pakistan team performances in future. But Younis said the team would eventually be able to move on from their senior players.
“In the past these things were said, what Pakistan will do with big stars leaving, it will be difficult ahead … but life never stops for anyone, it needs to move on,” he said. “When I came in I shared the dressing room with players like Rashid Latif, Moin Khan, Inzamam, Wasim, Saeed Anwar and I thought what will happen if they fade away. All pressure will come on us as junior players.
“But after two to three years Pakistan still did wonders, like in 2009 I won the World T20 with youngsters around me … I think Sarfraz [Ahmed] has a chance here to stand up and take the Pakistan team forward and we should think this way.”