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267 was nothing exceptional: Younis

By Deepti Patwardhan in Bangalore
March 25, 2005 21:19 IST
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On Friday, Younis Khan was the only one who thought his 504-ball innings of 267 runs on the second day of the third Test against India was "just normal".

Fact is, it was the highest score by a Pakistan batsman in India. It was also Younis' first double century.

But the Pakistan vice-captain was disappointed that he used up too many balls in his quest.

"This wasn't a great innings. I drew inspiration from Inzamam's [ul Haq] knock yesterday, but, of course, I couldn't play like him," he said.

"I always thought that if I was to score 250 runs it had to come in 400 balls. I needed almost 500 balls to score that many runs, so it wasn't exceptional.

"Also, when you play for so long and score so little the crowd gets bored," he added.

But it hardly looked as if those at the Chinnaswamy stadium were bored. Though they waited impatiently for Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir to take charge of the proceedings as the Pakistan innings drew to an end, the Bangalore gave Younis a standing ovation for the effort as he walked back after his dismissal.

"Whenever I have scored a hundred it's been in 150-160 balls, so I was disappointed today. I still rate my previous best (153 against West Indies in Sharjah in 2001) as my best innings. This innings was special because it came when the team needed it and it was against India," said Younis.

After the dismissal of Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq, Younis held on to one end almost right through the day and played the essential number three.

Despite being a natural striker of the ball, he waited for the loose delivery and never lost his calm in the middle. He only began taking risks, albeit few, once Pakistan had lost seven wickets and the batting to follow was nothing to talk about.

Asked if he had prepared differently to face Anil Kumble, who went wicket-less in the innings and had to resort to a leg stump line to Younis, the 27-year old batsman said he played the leg-spinner like an "in-swing bowler".

The Pakistan vice-captain had come under the scanner before the series, with people questioning his dedication to the team's cause. Younis dismissed the allegations, saying his team's interest was absolute priority.

"If I wanted to score runs and cared about records and average, I would've played the series against Bangladesh (in Pakistan in 2003). I myself stepped down from the team so that youngsters could get a chance.

"Even before this series people suggested that coming at number three was unfair on me so I should came down the order. They said Asim Kamal could be protected. But, then, that would be unfair to him.

"AsĀ 21-year-old I was inducted as number three in the side and made to face [Courtney] Walsh and
[Curtly] Ambrose on my first tour. I wouldn't let the same injustice happen to Kamal.

"I have never been scared of criticism. People have said that I don't deserve a place in the side. I don't care about such things anymore; I have got used to it.

"I don't believe in lending a ear to any of the negative things said about me or the team. Just because people talk, I won't finish my cricket. Even if I am not part of the Pakistan team in future it won't stop me from playing cricket and enjoying my game," he declared.

Younis is certainly enjoying his game, but thinks the Pakistan team may be peaking too late. He believes that Pakistan can win this Test, as the pitch has started cracking and the spinners will play a big role. But, at the same time, he is sad that they cannot win the series despite the effort.

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Deepti Patwardhan in Bangalore

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