We all love Younis Khan for his batting but it’s no secret that Younis Khan also happens to be one of the fittest athletes and our best slip fielder ever, even at the age of 39. The man loves to take those diving catches, them low dipping catches, the impossible catches and every other catch that comes his way. He just loves to catch (even fish).
He holds the record for the most number of international catches by a Pakistani; a total of 280 catches in Tests, ODI’s and T20’s combined. He is 11th on the list of most catches by any player. He also holds a unique record of most catches as a substitute fielder, after Younis took 4 catches against Bangladesh in 2001 at Multan during the Asian Test Championship. He is also only the second player to score 300 and take 4 catches in a match, the other being Matthew Hayden. Younis Khan took a record number of 10 catches in his last series against the West Indies: the most number of catches by a Pakistani fielder in a series of two test matches or more.
As he has played one last time for Pakistan and takien some breathtaking catches we thought it would be unfair if we didn’t take you on a gif ride for some of the best fielding efforts he’s pulled off in his career and make you go “Aye Haye Haye”
Younis Khan not only proved his mettle with the bat in this crucial test match but also showed how fit he was as a player. He was on the field for almost the entire Test match as a batsman and a fielder.
India were batting for a draw and were comfortably placed at 103/1 at lunch on the 5th day. At that point a win for Pakistan was not on the cards but Younis was following a different script.If it wasn’t for Younis’ brilliant catch at silly point of the inform Rahul Dravid, Pakistan might not have been able to clinch a famous victory.
Zimbabwe were looking good to chase down 270 as Tatenda Taibu and Hamilton Masakadza were building a solid 4th wicket partnership. Zimbabwe were 176/3 and required another 94 runs from 74 balls when out of nowhere Younis Super Khan dived full length and took a blinder of a catch on the leg side boundary to dismiss Taibu. The catch broke the momentum of the chase and effectively sealed the match for Pakistan. He also won the man of the series award. The physical agility of this man is mind boggling.
A poor 1st innings batting effort by both Pakistan and England was followed by a batting masterclass in the 2nd innings by Younis Khan and Azhar Ali, a partnership of 216 runs. This crucial partnership helped set a target of 324 runs and a perfect opportunity to whitewash England in the UAE for the first time ever. Alastair Cook was batting at 49, looking set to make a big score and avoid another defeat when Saeed Ajmal forced him to edge one delivery to the slip where Younis Khan was ready to dive and take another brilliant catch. Pakistan went on to whitewash every single inch of England.
Younis Khan is known for taking full stretched diving catches but this one was a superhuman effort to say the least. Pakistan had already dropped 3 catches before this was caught and HOW! Abdur Rehman tossed it up, inviting Shahadat Hussain to have a go at him. Instead he bottom edged it to Super Khan who took an absolute blinder. This wasn’t an easy catch by any stretch of the imagination. Younis dived full stretch to his right and plucked the ball mid-air.
This was the 4th ODI between Pakistan and England during England's tour of Pakistan in 2005. Younis Khan was out for a golden duck while Pakistan only managed to set a target of 211 for England. Inzamam got injured after scoring 81 so Younis got to captain in his absence. The English batsmen made a mess of the chase however, and it all came down to Kabir Ali and James Anderson. 13 runs required from 12 balls when Younis decided to stand at wide slip as an attacking option. This move paid off immediately as Younis Khan held onto a stunner off a Shoaib Akhtar delivery. The ball was dipping to his left as he dived and got both hands to the ball. Pakistan won the series with one match remaining.
India were chasing a formidable target of 303 runs, thanks to Shoaib Malik who scored 128 runs. India lost their main batsman Sachin Tendulkar cheaply. Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid got going with a partnership of 67 runs and the match seemed to be going India’s way. The in-form Gambhir was batting on 57 when Younis Khan got rid off him with a direct hit. This broke the threatening partnership and India’s batting didn’t manage to recover as they folded for 248.
Virender Sehwag had already scored a century and a half century in the previous two ODIs of this series and getting him out cheaply seemed next to impossible. He had started no differently in the 4th ODI, but little did he know that some Younis Khan magic was about to happen. Younis caught him off guard at the non striker's end with a direct throw at the stumps from silly mid on. Pakistani fielders and direct hits are a rare combination and this one was a moment of sheer brilliance.
This ongoing Test series against the Windies has to be Younis Khan’s best ever series fielding wise. Before this series, Taufeeq Umar had 9 catches to his credit: the most by a Pakistani fielder in one series. Younis Khan had to write his name in the history books one more time. By taking 10 catches in this series he surpassed Taufeeq Umar’s record and deservingly so.
All 10 Younis catches have been special. He’s made us realise even more that the slip cordon without him won’t be the same again. He still has a chance to equal or surpass Majid Khan’s record of 12 catches in a series though these 12 catches were taken as a fielder and wicketkeeper.
Which one is your favourite from this series and over all from his career? Let us know at [email protected]
*a special thank you to @AmmarAshraf for the gifs and stats