ICL: Indian Cricket League

Mohammad Yousuf faces World Cup test


Mohammad Yousuf may be high in the world’s Test batting rankings, but the World Cup will prove whether or not he can translate his form into the one-day arena and help Pakistan lift the trophy.

In 2006, the 32-year-old plundered a calendar year record of 1,778 Test runs and the world record of nine centuries in a year, including six in five consecutive Tests.

He single-handedly dominated Pakistan’s series against India, England and the West Indies last year. Besides captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and vice-captain Younis Khan, he is one of the three pillars on which Pakistan’s batting rests.

Yousuf’s dreamy drives and precise timing has earned him the reputation of being one of the most graceful batsmen to watch in modern day cricket.

Skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq rates him as the best batsman Pakistan has produced, surpassing even Hanif Mohammad and Javed Miandad.

But when it comes to one-day cricket Yousuf has rarely played a leading role for Pakistan, a quality which Javed mastered in his heyday.

With 7,853 runs in 233 One-day Internationals (ODIs), Yousuf has also proved his credentials in the shorter form. Yet still he is criticised for not finishing off the match when the team is in pursuit of a target.

Intikhab Alam, former captain and coach of Pakistan’s World Cup winning team in 1992, believes Pakistan need a batsman like Javed who anchored the batting in the triumph in Australia.

Miandad, who played a record seven World Cup tournaments, made 437 runs to help Pakistan win their only world title 15 years ago.

In contrast, Yousuf has managed just 331 runs in two World Cups with just two fifties - against Scotland in 1999 and the Netherlands in 2003.

Of his 12 one-day hundreds, Yousuf has managed just one while batting second and getting out between overs 35 and 42 is the biggest chink in his armour.

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said Yousuf realises the weakness and is eager to improve.

Yousuf himself admits he has matured and is more disciplined in his batting since his conversion to Islam from Christianity in September 2005.

Yousuf, formerly Yousuf Youhana, averaged around 48 in his first 59 Tests. After converting, he has yielded an average of around 90 in the last 16 Tests. “I am more committed after praying five times a day and am more disciplined,” said Yousuf.

Source:The News

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