SYDNEY Younus Khan's disappointment at Pakistan's perilous position in the third test has been mitigated by his first century in Australia and proximity to the exclusive 10,000-run club, the 39-year-old said on Friday.
The right-hander bucked a run of poor recent form to grit out a magnificent 175 in Pakistan's first innings, walking off the Sydney Cricket Ground pitch unbeaten after running out of partners.
While his century gave him a full set of hundreds in test-playing nations, the lack of support from his team mates left him 36 shy of becoming the first Pakistani batsman to score 10,000 test runs.
But even if Pakistan finished day four of the test staring a 3-0 series sweep in the face with one wicket down and 410 runs from an unlikely victory, it was not about to spoil his pleasure.
"I love to perform for my country, for my team and whenever my team needs me, it's a little bit late this time, but I am a proud Pakistani and at least I have made a hundred in Australia," he said.
"The previous time I was out for 87 in the 2004 Boxing Day test so it was my wish that I have one or two centuries and certainly my wish has come true and I am a happy man at the moment."
With his 42-year-old captain Misbah-ul-Haq expected to call time on his career this year, some have suggested this tour might mark the end of an era with Younus following suit.
Younus, though, said he would want to carry on playing test cricket even if he was not quite so close to the 10,000 run milestone.
"It all depends on my team and what they want. That's the main thing for me. It's not about that I'm near 10,000 runs which will be a big achievement as a Pakistani," he said.
"If you see that list there is no Pakistani who has achieved 10,000 runs so it all depends on my team and depends on the PCB (Pakistan board) and how they want me. I'll keep in touch with them as they tell me what they need from me."
Only 12 players, every one a great of the game, have previously scored 10,000 runs over a career but Younus does not think becoming the 13th would make him the greatest Pakistani batsman.
"Javed Miandad is there, Zaheer Abbas is there. There are a lot of great players there. Inzamam (ul-Haq) is also there," he said.
"I don't feel I will be the greatest batsman ever for Pakistan.
"But when I leave the field and ultimately retire this is my wish. They all remember me like 'he is a fighter and he played hardest for his country and his team mates'."
(Editing by John O'Brien)