(This is part seven, find part six here. In part six, you will find a link to part five. In part five, you will find links to parts four, three, two, and one.)
On the surface, there just isn’t a lot to say about the seventh member of the 199 Club.
It was Younis Khan, against India, in Pakistan, on Saturday the 14th of January, 2006.
Nothing extraordinary happened on that date, historically speaking.
The test itself was forgettable: the pitch was a flat joke, it ended in a draw after losing two entire days due to rain, and it is roundly ridiculed in the Wisden Almanak (sic).
On top of all of that: Kahn had already hit a 267* at the time of the knock in question, and then went on to score a triple century three years later. So, it’s not like January the 14th was his one and only chance at 200.
One bit of note: he got out on a run out, the only member of this dubious club to get out in such a fashion. His stumps were taken out by none other India spinner, Harbhajan Singh.
The match was played at Gaddafi Stadium (no, not that Gaddafi) in Lahore, Pakistan.
Actually, wait a minute, the ground is actually named after recently toppled Libyan dictator Colonel Mummaur al-Gaddafi – you know, the guy who ordered his armies to kill their fellow citizens. Are you kidding me!?
According to Wikipedia, the Colonel gave a speech in 1974 that was in favor of Pakistan acquiring the rights to nuclear weapons – so, of course, they named a cricket ground after him. The logic there is fool proof.
In late October of 2011, the Pakistani Cricket Board requested the name to be changed. Of course, they waited until after he was dead – don’t want offend the nice murderous dictator that thought we should get these nukes – and to date the name has not been changed.
I am surely oversimplifying a complex regional conflict, of course, but that is par for the course around here these days.
The Lahore Stadium, as it was known previous to the 1974 speech, and how I will refer to it going forward, was also the host ground for the 2009 test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka that saw the visitor’s bus shot at by armed militants, injuring nine* of the players – and the shooting occurred very near to the Stadium.
Pakistan has not hosted an international match since.
Violence begets violence.
Your geography lesson:
Now, of course, renaming a stadium is not going to end the volatile security situation in Pakistan, and it is not going make the ICC think twice about their banning of international matches there, but taking a crazed lunatic dicatator’s name off of the marquee of one of your most well attended grounds might a good first step toward returning to world cricket’s good graces.
And that, in so many words, are my thoughts on Younis Khan’s 199 at Lahore, in 2006.
Well, I will add that I greatly admire Khan. I like that he quit the T20 format right after captaining them to T20 World Cup championship in 2009. And I like that Cricinfo describes as a “complex but honest man.”
He has played in 75 tests for his country, scoring 6,267 for a commendable average of 52.22.
His most recent test of course was just last week at Abu Dhabi against England. Neither of his innings were worth writing home about: he got out for 24 in his first innings, before being bowled for one by Monty Panesar in his second.
However, that one run was more than Morgan, Broad, Swann, and Panesar scored in their second innings for England, and it was just as many runs as scored by Pietersen, Trott, and Anderson in their second innings.
So, chin up, Younis.
Gosh, you know, the more I write and read and watch these Pakistani cricketers, the more I love them. Their nomadic status is one of cricket’s real shames.
*I always forget that Mahela Jayawardene was one of the nine Sri Lankan players injured at Lahore. I don’t know. It’s just odd to think about the fact that he has been SHOT.
I am sure it is odd for him, as well.
On the pitch: hey, speak of the devil: the dead rubber between England and Pakistan starts up in three and a half hours. Sorry, but I am not staying up for that.
Australian and India’s second T20 is in six hours – I would rather get shot at dawn then stay up for that.
But, hey, the first ODI of Zimbabwe’s tour of New Zealand is on as I type. Zimbabwe are chasing 248 – and already down a wicket in the fifth over. Oh wait, make that two wickets.
All right, I am off to watch the cricket – for this could be over in like 20 minutes.