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Pakistan Test veteran Younis Khan has revealed that the upcoming series against West Indies will be his last as an international cricketer. Announcing his decision at a press conference in Karachi, the 40-year-old told that he has conveyed his decision to the PCB chairman and expressed hope that his fans understand and accept his decision.
"A time comes in every player's life when he has to decide and I always tried my best to serve my country with my head high. No player always remains fit, the motivation never remains the same, so this is the time when Younis should leave the field after the upcoming series in West Indies," he said, announcing his decision.
Just 23 runs shy of reaching the landmark of 10000 Test runs, Younis Khan will go down in history as one of Pakistan’s greatest ever cricketers along with Misbah-ul-Haq, who will also be retiring after the West Indies series.
Leading the tributes for Younis was Pakistan legend Wasim Akram who hailed the veteran batsman as one of the modern-day greats.
"Younis Khan is one of the best batsmen we have had. And he has always given his best for Pakistan," he said. "Younis was always a very hard-working player. He was proactive in all fields of the game, whether it was batting, fielding, helping others out during practice. He was a proper team-man. The way he has handled his image, he will always be respected for it."
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Younis Khan’s decision comes on the back of a similar announcement by Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq just a couple of days back. Pakistan’s most successful skipper in Test history, the 43-year-old had been pondering about calling it quits for quite some time with the away series against England and Australia providing contrasting fortunes for the side.
While Pakistan played out a thrilling 2-2 series draw against England, which helped them claim the top spot in the ICC Test rankings, albeit, for a short period, the series against Australia proved to be a disappointing one with the hosts claiming a 3-0 series whitewash.
The disastrous nature of the series loss might have played a part in the duo’s decision to retire after the West Indies series but they will hopeful of a much better outcome this time around.
Younis Khan is a veteran of 115 Tests scoring 9977 runs at an average of 53.06 and his feat of 34 Test hundreds is the most for any Pakistan cricketer. He is only the fifth cricketer from the Asian country to play 100 or more Test matches and he is the only cricketer in Test history to score a century in 11 different countries.
He also made it big as a skipper leading the Pakistan T20 side to World Cup glory in 2009. Despite running into trouble with the PCB on numerous occasions, he let his bat do the talking for him and his consistency in the middle order will be sorely missed by Pakistan in the longer format of the game.
The three-Test series between West Indies and Pakistan is set to begin on April 21 and the hosts will be keen to avenge the 2-1 loss they suffered in the reverse rubber in 2016. West Indies have not got off to a good start though having already lost the 4-match T20 series 3-1 but has managed to take a 1-0 lead in the 3-match ODI series with a four-wicket victory over the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side at Guyana.
The three-Test series will follow the ODI series with the matches being played at Jamaica, Barbados, and Dominica.
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The loss of the two batting mainstays for the Test side, who were named among Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year for 2016, will be a big blow for Pakistan cricket and they will find it tough to fill the void left by the duo’s departure.
While speculation has been rife about Misbah’s retirement for quite some time now, Younis’ decision comes as a bit of a surprise and his departure, in particular, might prove to be one that Pakistan cricket might not have been prepared for just yet. The level of consistency that he showed throughout his Test career is just mind-blowing and while Younis will be missed as a batsman no doubt, his loss will also be felt as an inspirational figure in the dressing room.