Amid the hammering that was today, Coach2.0 took a long nap.
He wasn’t any more concerned than he had been at any other time during the series. What could he do? Nothing. What hadn’t he done? Who knows? Why stay awake and watch the slow carnage unfold he thought? He could read the script. It didn’t matter who was bowling, or wicket-keeping [Ed. The Younis stumping miss was Puff Warner’s fault] or where the white blobs dotted the field. Catches win matches and the blobs were not catching enough when it mattered.
He was sick of watching what he couldn’t influence. It was like staring at the wavy desert horizon all the way to sunset. Pointless. And it was hot. The air-con was blowing that stale air that makes your throat tickle; his ears screamed as if a hurricane was being forced through a windsock.
Why stay awake?
The day wasn’t going to plan at all. We had wandered off the reservation….
I was dreaming, or drugged. I passed the city limits sign saying
Welcome to Younis Land
‘Land of records’
I motored into the Main Street ‘Younis Parade’ and parked on the curb next to a milk bar. It was hot. I ordered a Younis shake, a Younisburger, and Y$5 of deep fried Aussie chips younis-style. The waitress was sporting a Younis button, pinned to a low cut smiling Younis t-shirt. A collection of Younis greatest hits played in the background.
Outside everything was named after Younis – the hardware, the local Best & Less, the pie shop, the town hall and the World War I Younis memorial etched with the twelve names of the Younis brothers. Even the Chinese take-away with the fake flower in a waterless vase on the window table was named ‘Peking Younis’.
I passed a dog-walker walking 11 dogs. “Younis, wait” she said. All the dogs turned, cocked their heads, and barked in unison as if to say “Ok, Younis. We heard you the first time.”
A passerby hailed from across the parade “Good morning Younis” .
“Morning Younis” I heard myself replying.
“It’s another beautiful Younis autumn day, don’t you think?”
“A touch slow, but full of runs.” She giggled.
“The younisgirl is predicting another day of tumbling records.”
“Yes, I hadn’t heard.”
I was in a dream.
The Prof shook me awake sometime after tea. He was waving my diary across my face. “Don’t worry”, he said. “You were hallucinating. You didn’t tickle Coach2.0’s tummy [Ed. He woke in a foul mood] and Sarah didn’t touch you without your consent.”
“Forget that. Why are you writing in MY diary?”
“So many points of Younis reference and records are falling I listed as many as I could… you know for posterity. Vinyl won’t be around for ever.”
- Younis, Azhar: The highest partnership for any wicket at Abu Dhabi (236) and first ever third wicket stand of 200 against Australia on day 1 of a Test match
- Younis: Only the 2nd man to score 100 in 3 consecutive innings against Australia. (Herb Sutcliffe was the first in 1925)
- Most Test 100s playing away: Sir Don Bradman 11 in Eng, Sir Jack Hobbs 9 in Aus, ‘Sir’ Younis Khan 8 in U.A.
- Younis: Most 200’s by a Pakistani and oldest Pakistani player to score 200 (36yrs 336 days
- Younis: the 3rd Pakistani to score 8,000 runs, after Miandad
- Misbah: oldest test Captain to score 100 since Bobby Simpson (v. India, Adelaide, Jan 1978).
The Prof and I watched another hour or so of fruitless labour in the field. Eventually The Freak took Younis’ middle stump, and the nightmare was over ofr this innings. He was OUT!! He couldn’t score 300 [Ed. 213 is good enough], bat for 5 days, or walk on water. What a relief!
The BIG BIG BIG crowd boomed out their applause “Younis, Younis.” Younis had shut the gate again and sealed our fate. Pakistan trundled on to 6/570 and then declared. I guess they were bored.
Praying to buggery at the change of innings that something would save us from disaster seemed unnecessarily logical. The Captain threw a bucket of iced water over Puff and UnLucky and whispered “Try not to return wet.”
At stumps Pakistan 6/570 dec. Australia 1/22 (Unlucky was unlucky)
The crowd was so BIG. Planeloads of Younis well-wishers and Australia lovers were arriving from all over the globe hoping for a Pakistan victory and a 2-0 series whitewash. As Michael Vaughan tweeted. “… we all love anyone who scores 100s against the Aussies.” World pleasure can hardly be contained for a tweet retweeted 897+ times.