By our correspondent
LAHORE: Pakistan’s first Test captain Abdul Hafeez Kardar and country’s most successful Test batter and 2009 T20 World Cup winning captain Younis Khan have been inducted into the PCB Hall of Fame. The two iconic figures of Pakistan cricket have joined Abdul Qadir, Fazal Mahmood, Hanif Mohammad, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Zaheer Abbas in the illustrious group.
Kardar (posthumously) and Younis were inducted following a transparent voting process, which was participated by Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis (all former Pakistan men’s captains and PCB Hall of Famers), Sana Mir, Urooj Mumtaz (both former Pakistan women’s captains), Aaliya Rasheed, Dr Nauman Niaz, Rasheed Shakoor, Qamar Ahmed and Waheed Khan (all respected print and broadcast journalists).
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja: “The PCB Hall of Fame is designed to acknowledge, recognise and cherish the sacrifices, contributions and achievements of the role models in our sport and it is befitting that in our diamond jubilee celebrations, we induct two stalwarts from two completely different generations and eras of our proud cricket history.
“AH Kardar gave us a cricket dream, vision and mission in our formation years, and Younis Khan was one of the players who gave his absolute best in fulfilling those expectations through exemplary hard work, deep commitment and untiring performances against all opposition and across all formats.
“The two gentlemen will always remain shining stars of Pakistan cricket and idols for the future generations.”
Reacting to the news, Shahid Kardar, AH Kardar’s son, said: “This is a richly deserved tribute to a natural Skipper whose inspirational leadership, imprint of character, tactical brilliance and sheer grit put Pakistan on the world cricket map by evolving a bunch of club level cricketers into a team that achieved laurels beyond its perceived potential. He lit the flame that set the country ablaze, converting just another pastime sport into a rage.
“The Kardar family is profoundly touched and gratified at the recognition of the contributions of their patriarch with his inclusion in the Hall of Fame by the Pakistan Cricket Board.”
Younis Khan was inducted immediately after becoming eligible as the PCB Hall of Fame regulations require a player should have played his last international match, at least, five years before. Younis’ last international match was in Dominica in May 2017 – the Test which Pakistan won with six balls remaining to clinch their maiden series win in the Caribbean.
Younis Khan: “I feel honoured and humbled to have been inducted into the PCB Hall of Fame by the Pakistan Cricket Board. There are many notable names amongst the list inducted prior to me, whose performances have been outstanding. I, thus, feel it a matter of immense pride and honour for my name to be amongst those legends, having given my all to make my country proud.
“Success is something that should not be attributed to just an individual, for there are many stakeholders who have helped me in my journey, and to whom I am indebted: my family, team-mates, captains and support staff, and all those who provided me with the opportunity to serve my country and team with respect and dignity. Collectively, everybody along my journey shaped me and instilled within me the tenacity and drive.
“Highs and lows are all part and parcel of a typical career, whether in cricket or otherwise. I feel blessed to have played for my country, Pakistan. With God’s will, I achieved what most can only dream across the span of my professional playing career.
“My only regret remains being unable to play the second half of my international cricket in front of home fans, though despite this my supporters continued to follow and support me whenever and wherever I represented Pakistan. My fans have remained a huge source of motivation and inspiration throughout my career, and for this I will always be grateful.”
ABDUL HAFEEZ KARDAR, born in Lahore on 17 January 1925, played three Tests for India on the 1946 tour of England. Prior to making debut for India, Kardar had represented India’s domestic teams Northern India (1943 and 1945) and Muslims (1944).
After partition, Kardar preferred Oxford University (1947-49) and Warwickshire (1948-50) over India. However, when Pakistan became the seventh Test playing nation on 28 July 1952, Kardar was appointed the first captain and led the side in all the 23 Tests he played from 1952 to 1958.
Under Kardar’s captaincy, Pakistan achieved an unparalleled distinction of winning a Test in maiden series against all the Test playing nations of the day – India (Lucknow, 1952), England (The Oval, 1954), New Zealand (Karachi, 1955), Australia (Karachi, 1956) and West Indies (Trinidad, 1958).
Kardar, an Oxford University graduate who scored 927 runs and took 21 wickets in 26 Tests, also headed the then Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan from 1972-1977. In 1958, he was awarded Pride of Performance, the highest national literary award of Pakistan, while he was posthumously awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian award, in 2013.
Kardar passed peacefully in Lahore on 21 April 1996, aged 71.
YOUNIS KHAN, who turns 45 next month, featured in third most Tests for Pakistan (118) in which he accumulated most runs for Pakistan (10,099) and 14th most overall in the 145-year history of Test cricket. He averaged 52.05 (18th highest amongst those who have played 50 or more Tests), scored 34 Test centuries (most for Pakistan and sixth most in the world), including six double-centuries (seventh most in the world along with Javed Miandad and five others) and a career-best 313 in February 2009, which subsequently took him to No.1 position in the ICC rankings.
Younis also had safe pair of hands, when he held 139 catches (15th most in the world). He also captained Pakistan in 38 international matches, winning 14.
In an illustrious career from 2000 to 2017, Younis Khan produced a number of high quality and memorable Test innings. Apart from his 313 versus Sri Lanka, the opposition against whom he had scored a century on debut in Rawalpindi, some of other exceptional Test innings included 91 & 149 not out v New Zealand (Auckland, 2001), 153 & 71 v West Indies (Sharjah, 2002), 267 & 84 not out v India (Bengaluru , 2005), 199 v India (Lahore, 2006), 83 & 194 v India (Faisalabad, 2006), 173 & 41 v England (Headingley, 2006), 35 & 131 not out v South Africa (Dubai, 2010), 200 not out v Bangladesh (Chattogram , 2011), 200 not out v Zimbabwe (Harare 2013), 106 & 103 not out v Australia (Dubai, 2014), 171 not out v Sri Lanka (Pallekele, 2015), 56 & 118 v England (Dubai, 2015), 218 v England (The Oval, 2016) and 175 not out v Australia (Sydney, 2017).
Younis played in four ICC Men’s Cricket World Cups from 2003-2015 and finished his 265-match ODI career with 7,249 runs with seven centuries. In 25 T20Is, Younis scored 442 runs at a strike-rate of 121.42, but he is remembered for inspiring Pakistan to their first world title in 17 years when he lifted the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2009 trophy at Lord’s.
Younis won 15 player of the match awards in ODIs against Australia, England, Kenya, Sri Lanka, West Indies (one each), India, Zimbabwe (four each) and South Africa (two). He picked up two player of the match awards in T20Is – against Kenya for his bowling figures of 3-18 and Sri Lanka for his 35-ball 51 in the ICC T20 World Cup 2007.
In 2010, Younis was bestowed with the prestigious Pride of Performance award, while he received the Sitara-i-Imtiaz award in 2018.
In 2020-21, Younis served the national side as their batting consultant. The formal inductions of the two newest PCB Hall of Famers will take place during the ongoing season.