Grant Flower, the former Pakistan batting coach from 2014 to 2019, has spoken of the time Younis Khan, Pakistan’s highest Test scorer, held a knife to his throat when he attempted to pass on some batting advice.
Flower was in conversation with brother Andy and host Neil Manthorp on the Following On Cricket Podcast when he was asked about the tricky characters he has had to coach in his career. It was then that he recalled the incident with Younis, who made 10,099 runs in 118 Tests for Pakistan at an average of 52.05.
“Younis Khan… quite tough to master,” said Flower. “Obviously, a brilliant career. I remember one incident in Brisbane, during the Test, at breakfast I tried to give him a bit of batting advice, not that my career was anywhere near his regarding stats, as he is the highest scorer in Pakistan Test cricket.
#OnThisDay in 2017, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan signed off from Test cricket after helping Pakistan to a historic first series win in the Caribbean.
Has there been a better finish to an international career? pic.twitter.com/VySTfeucuM
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) May 14, 2020
“But he didn’t take kindly to my advice and brought a knife to my throat, with Mickey Arthur sitting alongside, who had to intervene. Yeah, it’s been interesting. But that’s part of coaching. It makes it a hell of a journey, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’m very fortunate to be in the position I am.”
Younis played one Test at the Gabba in Brisbane in his career, in his twilight years in 2016. Perhaps Flower’s advice got through; after a golden duck in the first innings, Younis made 65 in the second, and ended the tour with a splendid 175* at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which was placed No.5 in Wisden’s Test innings of 2017
Ahmed Shehzad was, Flower said, another “interesting” character in the Pakistan dressing room. “He’s a very skilful batter, but quite rebellious. Every team has got their rebel. Sometimes it makes them better players, sometimes maybe not so.”
In his five years as Pakistan batting coach, Flower oversaw the rise of a few quality young batsmen, including Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, and most significantly, Babar Azam. He is currently serving as Sri Lanka’s batting coach.