Pakistan batsman Younus Khan realised his wish to give his fans an Independence Day gift yesterday after his knock of 218 helped the visitors to victory and level the four-match Test series 2-2 against England.
Prior to his match-winning performance, the veteran did not have a comfortable series, with irate cricket enthusiasts and former cricketers criticising his poor form.
Younus’ double century at The Oval was the only time he crossed the 35-run mark in four Tests, with scores of 33 and 25 at Lord’s, one and 28 at Old Trafford, and 31 and four at Edgbaston.
Nevertheless, the 38-year-old revealed during a post-match interview in London that he received a call from Indian batting great Mohammad Azharuddin before the last Test which allowed him to improve his performance.
Speaking about his knock, Younus said, “It was hard work for me, but I received a call before the game from Azharuddin and he talked about my batting.”
He added: “He told me to stay at the crease and trust other people, and it worked out for me.”
The man of the match for the Oval Test also thanked his teammates, especially the tail-enders who stood their ground and helped Pakistan put up 542 on the board in response to England’s 328 in the first innings. “It was amazing how Wahab Riaz and the rest played with me, it was a real team effort,” he said. “I always aim for big runs for the team.”
Younus lamented how his performance in previous matches let the team down, but said he was happy with this win. “It was surprising for me, the way I used to get out,” he said. “However, whenever Pakistan wins like that it is always a joyous occasion and as a senior player it’s important to contribute.”
Pakistan’s 10-wicket win over England at The Oval concluded the Test series, with the visitors set to play two ODIs against Ireland before taking on the hosts for a five-match 50-over series.
Younus was quoted by ESPNCricinfo