Younis Khan, the real King Khan

Published: June 27, 2012

Khan currently has four fourth-innings tons and stands level with Sunil Gavaskar, Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Ramnaresh Sarwan. PHOTO: AFP

The last time I wrote about Younis Khan was four months ago, when he had just knocked up a century against England in Dubai. It was a fantastic innings, and right after that I wrote a post titled “Why Younis Khan is king“.

In that post, I wrote a comparative analysis, highlighting how Younis Khan fairs better than those batsmen who are popularly referred to as the ‘modern greats’ of the Test arena. What I didn’t happen to touch upon was the area where, in my opinion, Younis Khan really does reign as supreme – the fourth-innings of a Test match!

Thanks to Mahela Jayawardena‘s mind boggling decision not to enforce the follow-on, Younis Khan got another opportunity to show the world what he is capable of in the fourth-innings of a Test series.

Even though he wasn’t able to save Pakistan, which never really seemed like a possibility, given the amount of runs we were up against and the overs we had left, Younis Khan displayed a splendid knock, and in the process became the first ever Pakistani batsman (and 21st overall) to cross 1,000 fourth-inning Test runs.

An achievement?

Most definitely, yes.

But he has an even bigger achievement to his credit- Younis Khan is the first Pakistani batsman to have scored over 1,000 runs in the fourth innings of Test matches. He has the best average amongst all Test batsmen, who have scored over 1,000 fourth-innings Test runs, and is beaten only by the great Sir Donald Bradman, falling to the player with the second best fourth-innings average ever! #TheRealKingKhan


Unfortunately, Khan fell 13 runs short of his 21st test century against Sri Lanka, but had he gotten there he would have become the first ever batsman to score five centuries in the fourth-innings of a Test.

Yes the first ever!

Khan currently has four fourth-innings tons and stands level with Sunil Gavaskar, Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Ramnaresh Sarwan.

If only Pakistan played more Test matches, we would be able to appreciate the display of skill and alacrity of players with the likes of Khan.

He truly is the king of the fourth-innings!

Well, not really.

In my opinion, he is simply the king. Be it the first-innings or the fourth-innings, Younis Khan is the real King Khan!

Read the original version of this post here.

Read more by Umair here, or follow him on Twitter @WellPitched


Umair Qazi

An investment advisor in Dubai who blogs at and tweets @WellPitched

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Adnan

    Make up your mind; in your last article you conveyed the thought that its time for him to go. And the first line of your article was a lie – Recommend

  • ahmad

    @Adnan i think you got it wrong, in the last he talked about leaving the ODI’s only and here he is talking about tests only, if i am not wrongRecommend

  • Q

    Adnan sahab, I suggest you go read my last article again. Obviously you have not understood the message in that or this. And what lie are u talking about?Recommend

  • Q

    Thank you Ahmed. As you pointed out, even in the last article where I state that Younis should quit ODIs, I mentioned how important he is for the test side and how hes one of the best test players in the world.Recommend

  • Adnan

    @Q: With the knowledge of cricket you think you have, you should know that if a batsmen has the temperament to play test cricket, ODI’s are a cake-walk. Younis has loads of experience in the limited format and a dry patch like the one he’s going through now is one experienced by all great players.Recommend

  • Adnan

    @Q: The lie Qazi ‘sahab’ is in the first line of your article: “The last time I wrote about Younis Khan was four months ago”. Clearly, you wrote an article about Younis Khan just a few days ago. You strike me as exactly the kind of people who change their perspective of a player following just one match. I’m pretty darn sure that if we hadn’t had that fourth innings in the match, you’d be writing an article as to how bad Younis is and how we was part of the team that faltered and crashed for 100. Recommend

  • Q

    You have got it all wrong Adnan. You obviously do not pay much attention to the articles you read, otherwise you would not be saying any of the things that you have said.

    Firstly, what I wrote about 4 months ago has been linked to in that first line. If you go to that post it is 4 months old and was posted here on the Express. It was about how Younis has an awesome test record. And I was talking abt the last time I wrote about Younis Khan’s test greatness.

    Secondly, If you have followed me for the last 5 years (which you obviously have not) you would not make a judgement like “someone who changes their perspectives with every game” .. Younis scored a century in the last test he played before the 1st test against SL.. so whether he had performed in this test or not, my judgement of him as a test player would have remained the same. His ODI form is something different.

    Thirdly, ODIs might be a “cakewalk” in your book, but Younis has never been a great ODI player. An Average of 33 and 5 centuries in 250 ODIs are not what you expect of a number 3 batsman in ODIs.. I have never regarded Younis as an ODI player and never will even if he scores a 100 in the next ODI he plays. And even if he gets ducks in the next 5 test innings I will always think he is a great test player.Recommend

  • Adnan

    @Q: To answer your first point, you clearly need a better use of English to specify what you mean clearly – Blogging 101

    Secondly, why would I follow you when reading just two articles of yours have made it clear to me that you lack the depth of cricketing knowledge. I have been the coach of one of Karachi’s most successful cricket team for the past 24 years, so in all fairness, I know more about cricket than you possibly can.

    Lastly, his six centuries are coupled with forty-seven half centuries. He has amassed over 6800 runs in those same 250 matches. Instead of writing for the past five years, you should’ve watched the trio of Inzi, Yousuf and Younis chase the stiffest of targets throughout the early 2000’s. I agree with you that he is one of Pakistan’s best test batsmen but his credentials in the shorter formats are no less. Recommend

  • Q

    Adnan sahab, u r entitles to your own opinion about Younis as a player in Tests and ODIs. I have my own. I have watched all those chases that you talk about… even then Younis has not convinced me as a good ODI player. As I said you are ofcourse entitled to your opinion.

    Irrespective of what your credentials are, coach or not, player or not, I don’t think you can judge me or my cricket knowledge based on the facts that you are presenting. You did not even get the difference between my last post (Time for Younis to Go) and this one.

    Don’t mean any disrespect here, but u have obviously misinterpreted quite a bit.Recommend

  • Q

    Oh and Blogging 101 also entails clicking on the links on the blogs you read :)Recommend

  • Adnan

    @Q: Qazi ‘sahab’, I feel there’s no use of arguing with you, you obviously are stuck in your ideas. Let’s let the readers decide who’s right. Cheers.Recommend

  • Qamar Khalid

    absolutely ridiculous article. i’ve been reading your blog for a while which should tell you that i respect your opinion on cricket. but i have my doubts now. seriously, you’re trying to elevate the status of a batsman by telling the readers how well a batsman performs in the 4th innings of a test match? next thing you know i’ll be reading an article about how much younus khan averages on the 5th ball of every over in the last 5 overs of the first 6 hours of the first 12 days of the first 2 months of the year. i hope you get my point.

    i have nothing against younus khan. he’s a good batsman but seriously, 2 and 2 does not make 5.Recommend

  • Q

    Adnan sahab I agree.. as I said we r both entitled to our own opinion. And we can choose to respect that or not… Recommend

  • Q

    Qamar – if u cant understand the significance of a performance in the 4th innings of a test match, I can’t help you man. Thanks for following and respecting :)Recommend

  • adnan maqsood

    He is the real King, the one who anchors this brittle batting setup of ours brings temperament and stability. He truly is a world class one day player and a living legend of the world of test cricket. The problem here is that this nation loves slogers, not classy cricketers like MYK, well written Umair, though I still think he should be part of ODI team as well.Recommend

  • Adeel Syed

    Pakistani fans would like to have 11 mediocre sloggers like Afridi in the team. They fail to understand the importance of players like YK, Shafiq and Misbah.Recommend

  • hassan

    Just because some one bats well in 4th innings, it doesn’t automatically mean that he is one of the modern greats.

    If a batsman can’t score much in the first innings, it could indicate:

    — he has a problem batting in the first/second day pitch.

    — he can’t handle the new ball and he can’t face the bowlers who get help from a fresh pitch.

    — he can’t set the tone of the match; rather, he likes to play in situations where he has nothing to lose. The recent test is an example.

    As anyone who has followed cricket for years will know, cricket statistics can be cited to prove anything; including that Younis is a modern great ! Recommend

  • Adnan Sahab’s player

    I had more fun reading the banter between Adnan Sb and Q Sb. Apart

    @ Q: Nice article, though I think judging Younis on his ODI average is a bit harsh. Younis’s 4th innings average is a misrepresentation of facts. He has just not played enough test matches in since 2009 to be judged on his bloated average.Recommend

  • Future_of_Pak

    love the stats! king khan indeedRecommend

  • Q

    I don’t see how someone doesnt consider Younis Khan one of the modern greats. Either way to collectively respond to some of the points made, i’d say the following:

    Irrespective of what your 4th innings average is, it is no indication of how good or bad your 1st innings average is. Younis has done just as well setting the tone of the match as he has done in saving / winning tests for Pakistan.

    Batting in the 4th innings is anyway tougher than batting in the 1st innings, hence the significant associated with it. It would typically be on a day 4 or day 5 pitch, which has deteriorated enough for there to be uneven bounce, more spin, etc.. plus there is also the pressure of a chase or trying to save a match..

    This 87 against Sri Lanka might have been scored in a situation where YK had nothing to lose, but more often than not his 4th innings tons have been match saving ones for Pakistan.

    Not playing enough tests since 2009 does not take away his dominance of the 4th innings. I agree that the average of 65 since then could be a slight misrepresentation due to the less number of games.

    Thanks for the comments people.Recommend

  • ad

    YK undoubtly excellent test batsman of this modern era scored runs against every team both home & away,but if you talk about style,elegance timing & worth watching batting with the likes of lara tendu ponting yousuf inzi etc he stands no where near but neverthelss he got temperment & doing well in test he should play test as long as he is performing

    As far as ODI concerned he was just an average player coz at no 3 guy having average of 32 with 5 centuries & 47 fifties is not acceptable see the likes of kallis ponting etc as no 3 batsman there is a little patch btw 2006 to 2009 where he played aggressively & well During the time of inzi & yousuf due to pressure of performing in order to justify his place but now he has no place in the team at all coz selfish biggest match looser in the history of the game Misbah & he got no place its time for youngster now as we are losing in any case

    @ QRecommend

  • Qamar Khalid

    if you can’t understand the significance of this article, i can’t help you.
    if you have more knowledge of cricket and have been on the filed than me then you’re entitled to your opinion, but in no way possible am i going to accept the fact that i wrote this article in an effort to sound different but fell on my face trying to do that.

    “Irrespective of what your 4th innings average is, it is no indication of how good or bad your 1st innings average is. ” – then back it up. don’t say “e it the first-innings or the fourth-innings, Younis Khan is the real King Khan!” even if i were to go down to the sort of arguments you’re giving then the reference point of this tag king khan belongs to the guy who’s earned the highest number of awards, had multiple 100 crore 1st week openings. not gotten that ‘coz how he performs in the last 30 seconds of the 4th song of every movie.

    “Younis has done just as well setting the tone of the match as he has done in saving / winning tests for Pakistan.” – exactly. back it up. talk in context of the pakistani cricket scenario. i would’ve appreciated had you mentioned how many matches he’s made us win from this 4th innings itself.

    ‘I agree that the average of 65 since then could be a slight misrepresentation due to the less number of games.” – you agree but you forgot to mention it i guess perhaps ‘coz it would take away from younis khan i guess..?Recommend

  • ad

    YK is undoubtly excellent test batsman of the modern era scored runs against every team both home & away but if you talk about style, elegance, timing & soothing way of batting sorry to say its not there as compare to likes of lara, tendu, Ponting, inzi yousuf,KP, kallis etc but nevertheless he performed well throughout his test career & infact stats about his 4th innings however i never rely completely on the stats more like of analyzing players on the impact he got at the time of playing but still to score in 4th innings is not a joke on Day 4 & 5 where pressure of performing either to save or win match is obviously much higher shows the real mental strength of the guy in my opinion in test matches he shud continue till he is performing

    As far as ODI concerns he was never a natural ODI player or fluent stroke maker an average ODI player at no 3 with an average of 32 with 5 centuries & 47 fifties not gud enough at all as compare other no 3 like kallis & ponting share the work load really well during Inzi & yousuf era but for the last 3 years it just go dwon drastically at the current form, tempo he along with the biggest match looser in the history of the game Misbah have noplace in team it is seriously killing the instincts of youngster like Asad, Hammad etc to play agressively so its time to say gud bye in ODI’s

    @ Q

    btw seriously bro no offence but my first reaction on your first line of writing it on YK after 4 months cudnt buy it instantly you shud clarify btw test & ODI’sRecommend

  • Q

    @Qamar – how did I sound different when writing this article? these 4th innings stats and his status as a 4th innings batting giant was being talked about by all the commentators during the test match. Even Cricinfo was reporting it in their commentary as well as their stats compilation after the match. So writing this article in no way made me sound different from anyone else. I just presented the facts that were being echoed all over the world.

    You want me to back it up, ofcourse I will. Younis Khan has a 1st innings test average of 47.55. So it just shows he is just as good in the 1st innings. My point was made in response to a commenter who said that if u do well in the 4th innings means u cant play well against the new ball or on a fresh pitch, which is not correct.

    If you look at the 4 centuries that Younis Khan has scored in the 4th innings – his 130 against SA in 2007 helped Pak draw the match. His 107* against India in 2007 helped draw the match. His 131* against SA in 2010 helped draw the match. His first 4th inn ton of 126 against SA was in a losing cause. So these match saving efforts are not good enough?Recommend

  • sherry

    younis khan is the worst one day batsman ever, he has never scored more then 20 in any of the big matches he played during his shameful carreer,
    how can one forget the helpless innings he played in semi final against india ,
    he has been failing in one dayers since qt long but does not have the courage to step aside (like most of the other senior pakistani players) Recommend

  • salman

    nice article, well researched and i totally agree with your views. quite surprising to see the likes of miandad, inzimam or yousuf not having reached 1000 runs in the 4th inning, which makes this feat of younis’ even more impressive. indeed we do not give him enough credit with the test innings that he’s played over his glowing test career. also concur with your views that younis is no way near as good in the ODI’s as he’s in tests, more so considering his form over the last 12 months or so. Recommend

  •!/Rehman0092 Rehman

    Albert Einstein here writers are taking about tests not Limited Over cricket! Wake up!!Recommend

  • hassan

    Simple question:

    If you were to pick a World XI for 2012, will you pick the great khan in your eleven? or let us say, will you include the Real King Khan in your team of 2012 Rest of World XI vs Australia ? (your answer will reveal about your cricket knowledge or about your patriotism.) Recommend

  • Q

    Simple answer Hassan.. Younis Khan is not among the top test run scorers for 2012, so no he wouldnt make it to the World XI team for 2012 unfortunately.Recommend

  •!/AmmarAshraf Ammar Ashraf

    If Younis Khan has a problem batting first or second day of pitch then how he is averaging 47+ in first innings of match and 59+ in second innings of match?

    If Younis Khan has problem facing new ball then why he was the only one who accepted to come at number 3 batting position when giants like Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-haq refused to bat at number 3 position. Don’t you know he is averaging 50+ at number 3 position which is remarkable especially when Pakistan team is struggling to find proper openers since 2000?

    Younis Khan has played many knocks where Pakistan team was struggling. Recently he scored a century in 3rd test and English were praising him.

    He is now averaging 64+ since 2005. And this is not possible in those conditions which you pointed out.
    He is only Pakistani player averaging 50+ in both home and away test matches.
    And lastly, Younis Khan is averaging 48+ in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa where pitches are bowling friendly.

  • Q

    Well Pointed out Ammar. Thanks.Recommend

  • N

    First of all, Younis Khan is not a dependable batsman! If you do not agree with me then there is no point in going further. I have been reading some of Qazi’s articles and it seems that he is too statistically obsessed (Too much Zee News I suppose!). Younis Khan doesn’t contribute when the team needs him the most, that is, building a totals when the chips are down. The reason why Younis Khan averages high in the list of 4th innings scorers is because he is a good player of spin and accumulates most of those runs in Asian conditions.

    Qazi, can you please do a bit more research (4th innings totals: home and away) before crowning someone as a King! Gavaskar conquered the WI when they were ruling the roost.

    Younis Khan is limited when it comes to talent. I would say that he is more of a hard worker.Recommend

  • Umair Qazi


    Statistically obsessed I am.. but Zee News? Hahaha.. atleast better than the mini soaps stars news creates!

    There is no doubting what Gavaskar brought to the table.. One of the best of all times.

    As for YK, I wouldnt say that he doesnt contribute to the team. Hes been the backbone of this batting line up for almost a decade now and he has put his hand up whenever the team has needed it.

    As for his home and away 4th innings break up… he averages 60.6 in 4th innings away from home, which is higher than the 55.2 he averages in the 4th innings at home. He averages 64.3 in the 4th innings in neutral territories.Recommend

  • N

    Qazi, please write something about Hafeez! Batting being his USP, he has been more than disappointing! I feel he should come at number 5 so that he can control the game better (at least one batsman in the middle order with more than two gears!) ..Recommend

  • hassan

    The author somehow seems to sugges that the performing in 4th innings is so difficult that only some top accomplished batsmen can do it and by extension, those who can’t score high in 4th hundreds are somewhat lesser batsmen.

    Being a cricket lover, not bounded by patriotism, I want to refute this assertion. It is a good statistic, but, let’s not use to put someone on a pedestal which simultaneously only devalues the contributions of other world players.

    Let’s examine this argument, “4 or day 5 pitch, has deteriorated enough for there to be uneven bounce, more spin…”

    Australia, South Africa, New Zealand – In these countries, wickets don’t deteriorate like wickets in India. There is assistance for spin from 3rd day onwards, but, not like, rank turners. First 2 days, it is difficult to face the pacers in these wickets. In fact, most of these pitches, they are good for batting, from 3rd day onwards.

    England – Wickets in the second half of summer is radically different to wickets in the first half of summers. Tests played in the second half….batsmen have scored in bucketfuls while in the first half, many have struggled to put bat to ball. Pitches don’t deteriorate and there is no uneven bounce. It all depends upon cloud cover.

    Pakistan/India/Sri Lanka – There are dead wickets full of double hundreds and there are wickets which are rank bad from day 1. In India, wickets start turning from day 2 and this used to be the case when Anil Kumble ruled the roost. Not any more. The pitches are somewhat dead now and on days 4 and 5, they are like sleeping beauties. Even in domestic cricket, spinners are finding it difficult to take wickets. In Sri Lanka, after the departure of Murali, one will not see big turning wickets. they are good for batting from 3rd day onwards.

    West Indies – Here pitches have undergone lots of changes, but, of late, they assist bowlers a lot. But, there is no deterioration involving uneven bounce or rank spinning wicket.

    In cricket, statistics, without context, is meaningless. Since pitches are difficult – according to you – to bat in 4th innings, it must be easy for the bowlers to take wickets in the 4th innings. So, we can say, bowlers who take wickets in first innings are better and skilful than those who take wickets in the 4th innings ? A 5-for in the first innings is more valuable than the 5-for in the 4th innings ?Recommend

  • Umair Qazi


    No where have I suggested that batsmen who don’t score big in the 4th innings are lesser batsmen.

    Nor have I anywhere suggested that a 1st innings 100 is more or less valuable than a 2nd innings or 4th innings one.

    All I have talked about in this post is Younis Khan’s performance in the 4th innings, which is better than all other batsmen.

    That is pretty much it. If you believe that I have placed YK on a pedestal that he doesn’t deserve than that’s your opinion, but all other arguments are irrelevant…

    Either way, here’s a more comprehensive analysis of YK’s and Pakistan’s 4th innings performance by the guru of stats – S. Rajesh:

  • Adeel Furqan Ahmad

    If Pakistani player would have the opportunity to play for long term then all the records will be for Pakistan.Recommend