Younis targets one last milestone

Pakistani legend hopes to tick off 10,000 Test runs in farewell series in the Caribbean

Of the 12 players who have accumulated 10,000 runs in Test history, none are from Pakistan.

The wait though for the proud Test nation is likely to be over when Pakistan take on West Indies in the upcoming three-Test series starting at the iconic Sabina Park next Saturday. 

The retiring Pakistan legend Younis Khan, who has announced it will be the last series of his 17-year career, is just 23 runs shy of uncharted territory among his countrymen and excited about the prospect of becoming the first to 10,000 runs milestone.

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Before Younis, no-one from Pakistan had even come close to reaching this milestone, with Javed Miandad (8832) their most prolific batsman for 30 years until Younis Khan's six off Moeen Ali in Abu Dhabi in 2015 that took him past Miandad's tally.

Younis had even thought about retiring after he broke Miandad's record but the motivation of becoming first from Pakistan to 10,000 runs kept him going.

"I had a plan to retire after surpassing Javed bhai's record then I was motivated to complete 10,000 runs so I have decided to get them," Younis told media when he announced his retirement.

The Pakistan stalwart is a man of many records.

Not only is he the most prolific runs-scorer from his country, he also has most hundreds (34), coming in just 207 innings.

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He is the only player in the world to have scored a hundred in 11 nations that have hosted Tests and only from Pakistan with a century against the remaining nine Test teams.

Younis however says more than records he wants to be remembered as a team man and a role model for the youngsters.

"When I am retired and when I am not in the dressing room, I want youngsters to remember me as a role model," said Younis in a Facebook interview with the Pakistan Cricket Board.

"I want them to remember me as a player and batsman who always played for his country."

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Younis is known for his cool and calm celebrations but admitted there were times when he wanted to celebrate his milestones more animatedly, adding he would like to savour the moment he hits his long-awaited 10,000th run much longer than he normally might.

"Sometimes you really want to celebrate in an extraordinary way," he said. 

"When I surpassed Javed Miandad's runs tally I wanted to go into crowd and give my gloves and bat to fans but the scenario in international cricket does not allow you to do such things.

"Secondly, we do not play at home. When you have a home crowd you can afford to celebrate for a few minutes.

"But this time when I complete 10,000 runs, I would really want to have a two or three minutes celebration and enjoy the moment."

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Success even to the most talented individuals does not come easy and the hard-working Younis would undoubtedly agree with the notion.

There have been moments in his career when it must have occurred to him that 10,000 runs would remain an elusive tally.

A source close to the Pakistan team revealed that Younis almost decided to quit during the pink-ball Test in Brisbane last year when he bagged a golden duck in the first innings, but a second-innings 65 changed his mood.

He followed it with 21 and 24 in Melbourne and the first hundred of his career in Australia, 175 not out, in the last Test in Sydney.

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In his 115-Test career, he has also missed a number of matches mainly due to a tussle with the PCB, as well as deaths in the family.

He could not feature in third Test of the home series against England in 2005 due to death of his brother and missed a whopping nine Tests in Australia and England in 2009-10 due to his tussle with the board after he resigned as captain.

The upcoming series against West Indies will be his first Test tour to the Caribbean in 12 years; when Pakistan were there to play a two-Test series in 2011, Younis had to return back due to death of another brother.

Tragically, it's not the only time he's been away for such family crises. 

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"I was on tour when I received the news of death of my elder sister, and when my father died I was again on tour," Younis told ahead of his 100th Test in 2015.

"Even when my brothers died I wasn't present at home and had to leave the tours.

"Being a Muslim I believe whatever you have today will not be yours someday.

"This belief has instilled lot of patience in me and made me strong."

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Younis has mixed memories of Jamaica, where Pakistan and West Indies will face off in the first Test and he could complete 10,000 runs.

He scored a match-winning hundred at Jamaica's Sabina Park in 2005 but two years later lost his mentor and the former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer under mysterious circumstances.

Woolmer was a man Younis held in the highest esteem, and someone he shared a close relationship with.

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He called the former mentor's death the toughest period of his career when he announced his retirement.

"Not being able to leave for home, being treated like murder suspects, those were the worst moments of my life and I can never forget them," he said.

"We were being treated like suspects although Bob was like a father figure to us and his death shook us all."

Recalling the best moments of his cricket career, Pakistan's top runs-scorer said the first run of his career 17 years ago will remain the most memorable moment of his life.

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"The most important run of my career was the first one I scored against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi in 2000," he said.

"I also scored a hundred in the second innings of that Test.

"Some memorable innings for me are 149 against New Zealand in Auckland, the century that saved the Test against India in Kolkata (2007) and the double-century in Bangalore (2005).

"My 175 against Australia, the double-hundred in England (2016) and my triple-century against Sri Lanka (2009) are some other memorable innings."

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