Karachi: Long-serving Pakistan batsman and former captain Younis Khan on Saturday announced that he will retire from international cricket after the upcoming three-Test series in the West Indies.
"I will be retiring... With my head held high," the 39-year-old said at a press conference in Karachi.
"I think this is the right time as every sportsman has to take this decision in his career. I was planning this for a few months. I always tried to play for my team and for my country," he added, bringing an end to a 17-year Test career.
Younis insisted that he has already made up his mind and will not reconsider his decision to retire.
"People have been calling me and requesting me not to retire. But a time comes in every cricketer's life when he has to take a decision for the best. I have always wanted to go out on a high," he said.
"It is better for Younis to retire now from this field. It is all about a question of motivation and performances. I want to go out with my head high. That is why I am announcing today that Younis will retire after the West Indies series," the former skipper added.
Younis, who has led Pakistan in all three formats and guided them to their only World Twenty20 title in England in 2009, needs only 23 runs to reach 10,000 Test runs.
"I just want to now complete my 10,000 Test runs and go. I am not at that age where I can continue playing for a few more years. So even when I complete my 10,000 runs I will not take back my decision, even if I have an extraordinary series in the West Indies."
Younis today joined his teammate Misbah-ul-Haq in retiring from international cricket at the end of the tour of the West Indies in April and May.
Both the batting stalwarts have already retired from ODIs and had stopped playing T20 Internationals a few years ago.
"Life does not stop for anyone. One has to move ahead. I used to think how Pakistan will cope up when greats like Rashid Latif, Moin Khan or Saeed Anwar retire.
"But even after they retired Pakistan cricket carried on and we won the 2009 T20 World Cup with a young team. So there is a replacement for everyone," he said when asked what impact would his and Misbah's retirements have on Pakistan cricket.
Younis has so far scored 34 Test centuries in 115 matches -- the most by any batsman from the country -- and is set to become the first Pakistani and 13th batsman in the world to score 10,000 or more runs.
He has so far accumulated 9977 runs at an average of 53.06. India's Sachin Tendulkar currently tops the charts with 15,921 runs in 200 matches.
"I used to keep the paper clippings, where I was criticised for my performances and get motivation from them and learn and try to improve my performances," he revealed.
Younis was recently named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year, following his contribution in Pakistan's 2-2 drawn series in England last summer.
He hit a hundred in his first Test against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi in 2000, kicking off a glorious career during which he also scored a double hundred in Pakistan's series-levelling win against India at Bangalore in 2005.
Younis saw lots of ups and downs during his career but one incident that he said he could never forget was when the team had to stay back in the West Indies after the death of their coach Bob Woolmer in Jamaica during the 2007 World Cup.
"Not being able to leave for home, being treated like murder suspects, those were the worst moments of my life and I can never forget them. We were being treated like suspects although Bob was like a father figure to us and his death shook us all," said Younis.
Updated Date: Apr 08, 2017 16:33:23 IST