A few years ago when Ahmed Shehzad made his name on the International Arena of Cricket we all were certain he is destined for something big. But as the time passed, he couldn’t live up to his reputation. As a result, he was dropped for quite some time recently.
Pakistan, has over the years produced so many great names in the Cricket Arena. It has been the finest young and raw talent producer for the game. In every era there have been some finest Pace bowlers who could even swing the ball, bowl in-dippers, away swingers, reverse swinging yorkers, toe-crushers, pacy bouncers. Also their have been great batting ambassadors from the country. From Hanif Muhammad to Zaheer Abbas, Majid Khan to Javed Miandad, Inzamam ul Haq to Muhammad Yousuf and Younus Khan. these batting ambassadors have done so much for the game.
The modern day cricketing giant in Pakistan is the veteran Test batsmen Younus Khan who became recently the leading centurion and the leading all time test runs scorer for the country. Younus’ role in the team is of a fighter, who never kneels in front of the opponent. Stands tall, and sweeps you until you bowl him a half tracker and that gets square driven, or cut for four.
Younus Khan though failed to provide scores in ODI’s recently but he has some remarkable achievements in the test career of his. He has been along with Misbah ul Haq, the back bone of Pakistan’s test batting line-up with an healthy average of 50+ he has given scores on regular basis.
Younus has been a typical batsmen, who keeps the scoreboard ticking with singles, doubles and odd boundaries. He has the perfect selection of shots and a quality timing off the ball. You just can’t ignore the man for his contributions to the team. The reason he has been so successful is, he seeks to build a partnership as soon as he gets to crease, creating troubles for the bowling side. With a variety of shots under his belt he can play straight down the drive, sweep the spinners very often, cut or drive when pitched outside the off stump or can even come out of his crease to smack over the in field. He has a liking towards spinners, he plays them elegantly.
He has 31 Test hundreds to his name in 104 test matches, at an healthy average of 54. A solid batsmen, who delivers per every test match and can score in any innings, a very special thing about him is he likes to score more in the 3rd or 4th innings of the test match. The harder the conditions the better Younus gets. Also he is among the forth Pakistan batsmen to pass the 300 figure in an innings of a test match against Sri Lanka before the disastrous attack on Sri Lankan squad happened in Lahore. When Pakistan won the 2009 ICC T20 World Cup Younus was the Pakistani Captain who lifted the cup 17 years after Imran’s triumph at the MCG in ’92. Only the third he is after Don Bradman, and Herbert Sutcliffe to have an average of 50 or more in every innings of a test match. He was the first in 50 years to score three consecutive Test hundreds in consecutive innings against Australia two years back. Also he became the first to score 5 centuries in 4th innings of test matches that sure a record!
His achievements also includes him being the First Pakistani to reach 9000 Test runs mark and now he is aiming to score 10000 Test runs before he call it a day. He also owns the achievement to have scored a Test ton against every test playing nation and is the twelfth to do so. Younus is regarded as one of the best modern day players of spin. also prone to getting down on one knee and driving the ball extravagantly.
Though Younis’ career has been a roller coaster with lots of up’s and down’s, in the squad, dropped of the squad, but he never lost the faith in himself and kept going to prove his worth in the team. His presence gives a sense of reliability to the team’s middle order. He stables the stumbling batting line up of Pakistan test squad. He has been the go to man since an eternity and he has been very keen on taking the responsibility on his shoulders and fulfilling the captain’s requirements.
Since the departure of Inzamam ul Haq, and Muhammad Yousuf all the responsibilities came on to Younus Khan as him being the senior most batsmen, embraced the responsibility and took every opportunity to score for his team. Off the field he has been a gentlemen and on the field he has a good temperament always smiling around and taking it nice and easy.
There is nothing that you won’t love about the guy. He is a true gentlemen of the game. He stood up for his team whenever his duties were sought by PCB, PCT, or the Captain/Coaching staff. Him being in the team you can hope, he would come and stabilize the situation no matter how worse it gets. He is the guy Pakistani fans have been and will always be counting on.
Kumara Chokshanda Sangakkara born in Oct 1977 in Matale, Sri Lanka. Most regarded him
as one of the most Elegant batsmen and according to some he is among the very best the modern cricketing has seen.
Kumar began his career in the early days of 21th Century. Since the very beginning of his International Career he emerged as skilled and reliable middle order batsmen that could make the game turn his team’s side. Along with the exceptional, elegant, and skilled left handed batting from him we also know of his great reputation behind the stumps. He has kept wickets for Lankans in all formats of the game whether it be Tests, ODI’s or the t20I’s.
He has alongside Mahela Jayawardene changed the cricketing structure in Sri Lanka. He is someone you can rely on, when stuck between a crucial run chase, or setting a target to the opposing team. Scored without any hesitancy all across the globe. He can be relied upon in any situation.
Kumar along with batting up the order, keeping the wickets also captained the Sri Lanka team for few years and even lead them to the World Cup final in 2011 which they lost against India. Also lead his side to 2009 T20I World Cup Final against Pak at Lords which they lost due to Afridi’s match winning knock.
Kumar was God-gifted as a batsmen he could play shots anywhere and make his strokes as he would slowly generate pace towards the end of the innings. He could bat an entire day.. when batting in a test match (as you can see by his 11 Double hundreds in 138 Test Matches). In the last 15 years Kumar evolved as a batsmen and emerged as the Second leading run scorer in International Cricket after Sachin Tendulkar. Sanga, had been a Cricket Icon and has been responsible for lots of records such as 11 double Hundreds in Test Career which is 2nd most after Bradman’s 12, The fastest to 8000, 9000, 11000 and 12000 runs in Test Cricket, He was awarded as the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2012, Test Cricketer of the Year in 2012, and ODI Cricketer of the Year multiple times in 2011 and 2013. He has also won the LG People’s Choice Award twice, in 2011 and 2012.
And elected leading Cricketer in World in 2015 edition of Wisden. He is leading ODI run scorer for Sri Lanka and also holds the most dismissals by wicket keeper, breaking Gilchrist’s 472 dismissals. He is among a few to have scored a hundred in tests against all test playing nations. Scored 12400 Runs in 134 test matches at an healthy aggregate of 57.40, including a Triple Hundred right at the peak and end of his career. The Only man to have scored 150+ scores in four consecutive Tests or be a Hundred at Lord’s. The most remarkable effort of his in the last year of his career is to have been scored four consecutive Hundreds in World Cup in 2015 against Bangladesh, England, Australia and Scotland respectively. Another World Cup record that he holds is the most dismissals in World Cup career (54 in 25 matches).
When considering total runs scored in all forms of the game, Sangakkara is second only to Indian Sachin Tendulkar, where Sangakkara scored 28,016 international runs and Tendulkar has scored 34,357 international runs. I might say, had he played two more years the way he was batting since past few years Tendulkar might have felt his record in danger. Kumar was in hell of a form, with runs coming off his bat nearly every match. He was in such a good form that he would come and deliver a big score. He was a gentlemen, sure he was to the game. His contributions, I have shared only a few of those but his name is far bigger than any other cricketer.
Sangakkara retired from t20I’s by winning his side the world cup final against the MSD led India. He had hoped his side to win the World Cup in Australia but Proteas were too good for his team, Sanga was all set to score a fifth massive consecutive hundred but his team were thwarted by the deVilliers led SA and he after a fighting knock got out for well fought 45 (Even the Heavens poured that moment). He ended his career on a high note with all of the World admiring the Maestro of modern day Cricket.
Though he played a few test matches against Pak and Ind later that year, and retired in August the same year. He has been a great match winner for his team and the back bone of their batting line up for more than a decade. He has scored against all the opponents and all across the globe.
The elegance of Kumara Sangakkara cover drive that shot making that stroke play and display of skill won’t be compared to any other batsmen. He was simply different from the rest. Kumar’s ability to play spin was inevitable. He could read the ball from the very hands of the bowler. The difficult was his wicket, and the key to victory was to get Sanga’s wicket cheaply.
His records shows his brilliance. He has been the Most Elegant batsmen the World would ever see. His magic still lives in him after 5 years of retirement you can see as he played for Shane’s Warriors v/s Sachin’s Blasters in America being the leading run scorer of the series. In BPL 3rd Edition where he was the leading run scorer scoring 300+ runs.
The foundation, the resistance, the elegant and watchful stroke play and above all a gentlemen who contributed and retired rather some might say was sooner for Sri Lanka.
I might reckon it was not his time to bid farewell to the one thing he was destined to be Master of that was batting. Kumar’s fascinating knock at Lord’s was and will always be remembered as the only thing that he needed in his records.
“Retiring from cricket is not about form. I feel that the time is now and it’s right. I’ve tried to give everything I have when I’ve played the game; the game goes on. You can’t hold onto it and people shouldn’t be too sentimental. I think a lot better players and greater players have gone, and the game has gone on and there are new players who take the mantle, and in my case it won’t be any different.” #SangaSignsOff