By Obaid ur Rehman
The greatest journeys of the two legendary cricketers have finally come to an end. Dominica bid farewell to two legends of the game in a most thrilling manner; Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq received the most breathtaking and heart stopping send-off ever possible. Pakistan’s thrilling victory over West Indies on the final delivery of second-last over of the dramatic and historic series proved out to be a best tribute to Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, a duo who was in white jerseys and green caps out there in the field for one last time. Leaving behind all the great memories, records and great chapters of success, Misbah and Younis made their last appearances, said final goodbyes and made their way back to pavilion with full grace and heads held up high.
Striving hard to get Caribbean Lads all out on the last day of Dominica Test, Misbah’s men had to face a lot of torturing and teasing moments when no-ball wickets and a couple of missed chances made them wait, wonder and desperate for the historic victory. Shannon Gabriel, West Indian last man survived just over half an hour at the crease and had faced 21 balls with patience including the five deliveries of second last over. He just had to face one more delivery of Yasir Shah and then it would leave to Roston Chase, who was batting on 101, to face the last over of the match, the last over of the series, to save the test match for West Indies and ending the dramatic series in a draw.
But Almighty Allah had else plans. Right before Yasir Shah’s last ball of his last over of the series, Misbah called all the fielders up to exert pressure on the batsman. Yasir Shah was about to take steps for the final delivery when Younis Khan, manipulating the batsman’s psyche during such situation, signaled him to keep it towards off-side. In one of the most inexplicable moments in Test Cricket’s history, Shannon Gabriel whom Pakistanis will now always remember his name, swung at a loopy full delivery pitching well outside off stump. The ball took his inside edge and rattled into his off stump, sealing the victory in one of the greatest days in Pakistan’s Test Cricket history.
Yasir Shah celebrates the final wicket of the West Indies innings with his Team-Mates
Misbah-ul-Haq and his men have done what Hanif Muhammad couldn’t do, what Javed Miandad couldn’t. Not even Imran Khan could defeat West Indies in Test Series in their homeland and Wasim Akram also had hard luck. Moin Khan was about to become first Pakistani Captain to achieve the feat but biased umpiring proved out to be a major hurdle for Pakistan’s historic victory. It was thus written somewhere up in the skies that this history will be written to Misbah’s name. Misbah and his team turned the tables in their favour when no one was expecting Pakistan’s victory in the game and series. The Test Match has once again proved that the beauty and class of Test Cricket has simply no other alternate match.
With the end of this Test Series and Pakistan’s thrilling victory over West Indies, the memorable and magnificent careers of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq have also come to an end. On the final ball of the second-last over of the series, a fitting tribute to Misbah and Younis’ efforts was given. We are fortunate enough to be in an era witnessing the greatness of both Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq and watching them getting retired with full grace, dignity, respects and being embraced in Green Flags.
The Pakistan team carries Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan on their shoulders during the Victory Lap
These two beacons of calmness that you could count on to somehow always made things better for Pakistan in any contest. The exceptional batting of Younis Khan & Misbah-ul-Haq over the last few years, coupled with Misbah’s brilliant leadership, truly took Pakistan to the top of the Test rankings. Younis & Misbah have the timeline that is full of emotions, lows & highs, ups & downs and many unforgettable moments. Younis Khan has the credit of winning a World T20 for Pakistan as a skipper back in 2009. Then he became the first Pakistani ever to score 10,000 Test Runs and 13th overall, achieving the feat in the same series in the first Test Match.
Talking about Misbah-ul-Haq, since debuting in 2001 to bringing Test Mace back home, Misbah has contributed in every way he could. He captained Pakistan in 56 Tests; won 26, lost 19 and drew 11, at a winning rate of 44.64%. He is the man who went down for push-ups to pick Pakistan’s crest up at Lord’s that had been lying in the dirt since 2010’s Spot Fixing Scandal. He scored a superb century and made it to Lord’s Honour Boards for upcoming generations to witness his legacy. After leveling that series, there came a time when Pakistan possessed the Test Mace and found themselves on top of the mountain.
The stats and records of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq are undeniable facts that they were truly the men of crisis for Pakistan Cricket Team. Along with the exceptional leadership qualities of Misbah-ul-Haq, the duo played a key role in bringing up the position of Pakistan’s Test Cricket. For a team that has been forced to play its Home Matches in the Middle East, this was perhaps the greatest achievement. Given the fact that Pakistan’s biggest challenge over the years has been their batting, the exit of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq will be a huge void to fill.
The writer is Islamabad based Research Analyst / Content Writer / Media Person and is currently pursuing his M. Phil. Degree in Media Studies from Bahria University Islamabad. He writes on Politics, Current Affairs, Social Issues and Sports and can be reached at;