If you saw Younis Khan talking at a press conference, or laughing uncontrollably at a joke that one of his team-mates made during practice, you would think he’s one of those supremely light-hearted cricketers who goes through life with a song on his lips and not a care in the world.
Anyone who knows anything about cricket, or captaincy, will assure you Younis’ life is anything but charmed.
After all, there are few more difficult jobs in cricket than leading India or Pakistan.
And if your surname happens to be Khan, the comparisons with the mighty Imran can never be far behind. Younis has come to understand this in the recent past.
Ever since winning the World T20 in England earlier this year, Younis had made a concerted effort to not be one of the boys.
He knows he is in a position to carve a niche for himself, but in order to do so, must rise above the gaggle.
If he is to command respect in a manner approaching Imran, he will have to evolve into something more than just a cricketer.
Already, Younis has shown that he has a keen sense of history and occasion.
Playing with a fractured finger, Younis said he wanted to emulate Sachin Tendulkar, who made an inspirational 98 against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup battling injury. It’s a different matter that he could not do so.
When Shoaib Malik made his matchwinning hundred against India, the Pakistan skipper remarked that the name Malik would be heard all over Pakistan.
It’s not a coincidence that Younis, after turning down the captaincy in 2007, took up the job in 2009 when he felt he was ready for the job.
Now, with success under the belt, and young performers coming through to point to a bright future, Younis is moving into elder statesman mould.
Sample this answer: “Keep it normal — don’t hype us up too much if we beat India or if India lose, don’t bring them down so much.
This is not how life should be — dependent upon winning or losing — life should go on as normal. If M.S. Dhoni loses then people go after him, or after us if we lose. This is wrong — just keep it normal. Leave sports as sports and no more.”
With all India praying for a Pakistan victory, and Younis saying he wants to play India in the final, you can be sure nothing will be treated as normal when Pakistan play Australia on Wednesday.