ICL: Indian Cricket League


Spotlight on Yousuf with Test record in sight

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In came the man of the moment, Mohammad Yousuf, a player who reminds you of two of the game’s greatest characters Don Bradman and WG Grace at the same time and for obvious reasons, writes Khalid Hussain.

And it seemed as he had come straight from Raiwind, the biggest centre of Muslim preachers in the country.

Unfashionably clad in a cotton kurta and shalwar that hung above his ankles and wearing a white prayer cap, Yousuf’s sight was in stark contrast to the group of green-shirted teammates who stood in the balcony of a National Stadium dressing room, awaiting a practice session on Saturday afternoon.

He was a few minutes late and was one of the last ones from the Pakistan squad to make it to the nets but the sort of form he is in, Yousuf can get away with anything these days.

Yousuf, 32, was recently hailed as Pakistan’s greatest ever batsman by his skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq who believes the Lahore-born batter is even better than the legendary Hanif Mohammad and Javed Miandad.

Inzamam certainly has his reasons for using such superlatives for his long-time batting partner.

Yousuf is already a part of Pakistani batsmen’s hall of fame having scored 6176 runs from 72 Tests at a very attractive average of 55.63. But it is more due to his recent form which made Inzamam say ‘he is the best’.

Yousuf’s Bradmanish form has helped him amass 1562 runs from ten Tests with a record-equalling seven tons and his beard is now almost as long and bushy as Grace, the legendary English cricketer, once sported. Another 149 runs from Yousuf in the Karachi Test starting from Monday would help him become the highest scorer ever in a calendar year, surpassing the great Vivian Richards’s haul of 1710 from 11 Tests in 1976.

He has already scored 193, 56 and 191 in his previous three innings in this series that follows a highly prolific performance from the elegant batsman during this summer’s tour of England.

No wonder, he is currently the most sought after cricketer for local fans who have forgotten the likes of Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and Younis Khan and make a beeline for Yousuf whenever he makes a public appearance.

An introvert, Yousuf, however doesn’t like the spotlight following him. After converting to Islam last year, Yousuf has become the most devout Muslim in a team that is said to be driven by faith and he wants to be left alone as much as possible.

Individual landmarks, he says, don’t matter much to him. “All I do, I do for Allah and I am happy if my team’s benefits from my presence,” he says. “Personal achievements are secondary to me.”

But personal milestones work like tonic for cricketers and when Yousuf takes the field at the National Stadium in the third Test, he would be no exception. It is not everyday a batsman gets the chance of taking a shot at one of the most attractive batting records in Test history and adding another 149 or more runs in the match would be on the mind of the ‘greatest Pakistani batsman of all-time’.

Source:The News

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This entry was posted on Monday, November 27th, 2006 and is filed under General.

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