When West Indies were bowled out for 286 before lunch on day 3 and it was Pakistan’s turn to take the crease, the attention shifted to one man. Younis Khan was 23 runs away from a decorated history in international cricket. The ongoing Test series against West Indies was going to be his last. Younis, who became the first-ever cricketer on Earth to score a hundred in all 11 Test-playing venues, would call it quits at Roseau with excellent notes on his CV. On the third delivery of the 17th over, Pakistan lost their third wicket, which brought Younis at the crease. Everyone geared up for the main event – Younis was not very far away from becoming the 13th Test batsman to reach 10, 000 runs.
Devendra Bishoo came into the attack for his 10th over with Younis on the strike. After a couple of runs in the first three balls, Younis lofted the ball down the ground and that recorded his 1068th boundary in Tests. With the shot, Younis was two runs away from history. The commentators erupted with excitement; the social media had already begun hailing the legend, who seemed in no hurry. The next seven balls were dot and meanwhile, he did what he was best at – he waited.
In the 48th over, Younis took a single, which left him a run away from the milestone. His partner Babar Azam faced the next five balls before the tea was called, leaving Younis stranded on 9,999 runs. It is difficult to predict if a batsman can successfully carry the momentum into a new session. Although Younis looked in a decent touch, West Indies had a great chance to deny the veteran a massive feat. Any cricket follower would be looking forward to Younis touching the 10,000-mark and it went without saying that the Windies were among them. Younis being a no-nonsense guy has always been a team man and one of the few adored Pakistani players; another run would make him the oldest cricketer to register 10,000 Test runs.
By then a hashtag of #Y20K had already begun to trend on Twitter. “Only in cricket does a player go in to sip tea while standing on the very edge of history,” an ESPNCricinfo journalist said in the commentary. West Indian spinner Roston Chase was with the ball, who had Younis on the strike. If the Pakistani batsman would manage to score the single in this over, Chase would get associated with the former forever in the cricket history.
And the moment finally arrived.
Younis Khan in the most typical way of his rolled his wrist beautifully and swept the ball over to fine leg in style – he became the first Pakistani cricketer to record 10,000 Test runs. He got there in his 208th innings – averaging a little over 53 – the sixth fastest among the 13 batsmen to have passed the milestone.
It is his courage, determination & ability to score against quality bowling in difficult conditions that has led to this achievement. https://t.co/MawiDnER5T
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 24, 2017
The 39-year-old batsman is one of the best cricketers ever played for Pakistan. Because of his poor average in the limited-overs format, he has always been underestimated and devoid of the same importance that is given to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and other cricketers part of the 10K-club. He was unlucky even when he achieved the milestone towards the end of his career. The match was played in Kingston and the crowd was too modest to witness an achievement like that.
— ICC (@ICC) April 23, 2017
His celebration was more or less like the same way his career has been in the last 17 years. He simply raised his bat, pointed at the Pakistan crest on his shirt and resumed his work – batting religiously in Tests; leaving no scope for a distraction, not even a massive record in his career had made any impact on his style of play. He has only a handful of innings left in his Test career and it goes without saying, he will want to make the most of it. Although Younis knew that it is time to draw curtains down in his international career, he had suggested he, could reconsider retirement if Pakistan wanted him to continue.
Younis is a superstar! He has been a great player, a lovely man and someone I always enjoyed playing against. I wish him the best. https://t.co/xAeZdxo6Tb
— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) April 24, 2017
However, prior to his historic innings, he had clarified that West Indies tour would be his last. When he fell for 58 on Sunday, he departed with a deserving standing ovation from his teammates and Kingston crowd. Pakistan owed him a lot; they must make the last tour memorable for him and only a series win will be a perfect goodbye for their warrior, Younis Khan!