Younis Khan has been among Pakistan’s most consistent batsmen over the last decade or so. In fact, following the loss of Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haw he has been the sole batsman with vast batting experience in the middle order. However, over the last couple of seasons he hasn’t quite been at his best. The reasons are understandable, he is 35 now, and it is commendable that he still maintains an average of 50 after having featured in 83 Tests. But, he failed in the first innings of the first Test as well against Zimbabwe at Harare, raising questions over his form. Here’s a look at Khan’s career over the years, which demonstrates the decline in recent times.
2010: In this year, he featured in only two Tests, but raked up a ton in one of them – an unbeaten 131 against South Africa, which gave him an average of 60 and a total of 180 runs. Two games though are too little to judge a player’s form and fitness. So we look ahead.
2011: This was a brilliant year for Khan. The number three batsman featured in eight Tests and amassed 765 runs with two hundreds at an exceptional average of 85. The two tons were 122 against Sri Lanka and an unbeaten 200 against Bangladesh. During this year, Khan played three Tests against Sri Lanka, averaging 55 with 221 runs, two each against Bangladesh and New Zealand, averaging a mammoth 265 and 59 having scored 265 and 177 runs. He played on match against Zimbabwe, and there too he scored 102 runs with a highest of 88. If anything, one can only point out to the fact that most of his big scores came against the minnows, but Khan was not to be blamed for the same.
2012: This was the year in which Khan’s form began to dip. He featured in a total of six Tests, but managed to score only 360 runs averaging 36 with a solitary century. In three Tests against England played in the UAE, he managed 193 runs, with 127 of them coming in one innings, which means he did little in the other knocks. His average of 39 was decent, but things became even more disappointing when he featured in three Tests against Sri Lanka. Khan scored only 167 runs, averaging a below par 33, with a highest of 87. Questions were being asked about his form now.
2013: Khan has nothing to inspire confidence this year as well. In fact, his graph has only gone downwards. In four Tests thus far, he has scored 187 runs averaging 27. Again 111 of those runs came in one innings against South Africa. In spite of that hundred, he averaged only 30 against the Proteas, playing three Tests and totaling 184 runs. In the one innings against Zimbabwe at the Harare Test which is underway, he fell for 3. Basically, it is a case of Khan getting a hundred to keep his international career alive every time it is in troubled waters. It remains to be seen how long Pakistan persist with Khan if he keeps faltering.
--By A Cricket Analyst