Two greats, two eras

Misbah=ul-Haq, Younis Khan

As Misbahul Haq went for a habitual slog over midwicket – a shot that he often plays with great degree of flourish – off Devendra Bishoo on day four of the final Test in Dominica in a bid to stretch Pakistan’s lead over West Indies, the Pakistan captain faltered, handing a regulation catch to Shane Dowrich to put an end to what has undoubtedly been a remarkable 16-year long service to Pakistan cricket.

Soon after, Younis Khan followed suit after he was caught at backward square-leg as he attempted an errant sweep shot off Bishoo, shutting down curtains on an illustrious career for Pakistan that spanned over 17 years.

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West Indies players gathered in the middle on both occasions to bid farewell to Pakistan veterans, shaking hands with a few words of acknowledgment – a gesture that is itself a testimony to where Misbah and Younis really belong in Pakistan cricket echelons. Pakistan players rushed out to receive their mentors, forming a guard of honor as the Misbah-Younis duo quietly walked away from international cricket amidst buoyant cheers from a scantly populated Windsor Park crowd.

It was a session where Pakistan’s scoring rate plummeted, and their batting tumbled down. But it wasn’t all about this session. In fact, this session will be remembered for it brought Pakistan’s most successful Test skipper and, arguably, best batsman – the most prolific batting pair in Pakistan’s Test history – at the crease for one final time. However, they couldn’t quite get the job done for Pakistan as they would have liked this time around but the profound impact the pair have left on Pakistan’s cricketing landscape is beyond measurable.

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Misbah was awarded with a Test cap in 2001 on the back of a consistent domestic run in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy (2000-01 session) that yielded 947 runs from his bat at an average of 63. However, his age and a poor track record at the international level saw him struggle for form and his place in the national cricket for the next seven years, before his eventual rise to fame in the ICC World Cup 2007.

Misbah took the reins in unprecedented circumstances in 2011, after the notorious ‘spot-fixing’ scandal that left Pakistan cricket in shambles, and has since then exemplified courage and determination in leading Pakistan team through every thick and thin. He also has the honor of leading Pakistan to number one spot for the first time in the ICC Test rankings in August last year.

Younis, on the other hand, sits proudly on top of the run-scoring chart for Pakistan in Test cricket. The 39-year-old is one the best Test players Pakistan has ever produced, if not the best, and is the only player to have over 10,000 Test runs to his credit, at a sublime average of just a shade over 52. His work ethic through these years since his memorable debut against Sri Lanka in 2000 has been unmatched and his dedication to the game has been flawless.

It is unlikely that Pakistan cricket will ever see this likes of Younis and Misbah again. And it is almost certain the brunt Pakistan cricket has to face in their absence will be immense.

Written by: Umair Anwar

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About the Author:

Umair Anwar is an avid reader who writes occasionally on the intricacies of life, sports, and technology. He is a professional cricket player and an Electrical Engineering student.


 

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