Younis Khan is fearless, as befits his Pathan ancestry and will forever be remembered as the second Khan to bring home a world title for Pakistan: Younis was Pakistan's captain in the 2009 World Twenty20, leading a successful campaign with stark similarities to the one Imran Khan had led 17 years earlier. Younis retired from the format straight after, a graceful and dignified gesture from a complex but honest man.
It is as a batsman, and a fearless one, that he made his name first, playing with a flourish. He is especially strong in the arc from backward point to extra cover. He is prone to getting down on one knee and driving extravagantly. But this flamboyance is coupled with grit.
Though Younis was one of the few batsmen who retained his place in the team after Pakistan's disastrous World Cup campaign in 2003, he lost it soon after due to a string of poor scores in the home series against Bangladesh and South Africa. He came back for the one-day series against India, but failed to cement a place in the Test side. He is among the better fielders in Pakistan and he took a world-record four catches in one innings as substitute during Pakistan's demolition of Bangladesh in the 2001-02 Asian Test Championship.
But until his return to the side in October 2004, he wasn't a fixture. At the pivotal one-down, against Sri Lanka in Karachi, a century laid the groundwork for his emergence as a force in Pakistan cricket. He was the top run-getter in the disastrous 3-0 whitewash in Australia immediately after and on the tour of India, for which Younis was elevated to vice-captain, he blossomed. After a horror start to the series he came back strongly, capping things off with a match-winning 267 in the final Test. He credits the late Bob Woolmer, to whom he was close, for the turnaround in his career.
Since then, barring minor troughs such as the 2005-06 series against England at home, his career has been one elongated peak, scoring hundreds against India and England for fun and becoming Pakistan's most successful one-down in recent memory. More importantly, the tour to India also showcased his potential as a future captain of Pakistan and his energetic and astute leadership has impressed many people. As captain in Inzamam's absence he led the side to a disastrous loss against the West Indies in 2005 but also to a memorable win against India in Karachi in January 2006.
He blotted his book by suddenly resigning from the captaincy in Inzamam's absence for the Champions Trophy 2006, only to return a day later and lead a scandal-afflicted side to a disappointing first round exit. He was the favourite to take over the captaincy after Pakistan's ignominous World Cup ouster in 2007 but he turned it down, citing mental strain and decided to honour his commitment with Yorkshire by making himself unavailable for Pakistan. In January 2009, however, the PCB came calling a third time, after Pakistan's disastrous home ODI series against Sri Lanka, and appointed him captain in place of Shoaib Malik. Within a few months, with the Twenty20 win, Younis was looking a natural leader.
But the peace, once again, did not last long and several senior players in the team expressed misgivings over Younis' leadership. Things came to a head against New Zealand in Sharjah, after which he announced his resignation from the top-job and sought a break from the team for the tour down under. He was included in the ODI team, midway through a disastrous tour, but struggled for form and runs. His career hit its biggest controversy in March 2010 when, along with Mohammad Yousuf, he was banned by the PCB from all Pakistan teams, for causing infighting within the team, in effect ending his career. Cricinfo staff March 2010