Mohamed Yousuf: A Possible Exit

30 03 2010

Mohamad Yousuf

Mohammad Yousuf, one of Pakistan’s best batsman of the last few years has retired. In recognition of his services to world cricket we thought, we would write a short piece about him. This is, after all, a man who has played 88 tests, scored 7431 runs at an average of 53 and made 24 hundreds. Not bad by anyones standards. Remember Yousuf also holds the record for test runs in a calendar year having broken Sir Viv Richards long standing record (he scored 1788 runs in 2006).

However on two counts, all is not as it seems here. Firstly, as has been documented previously on this site, Yousuf is currently banned for ‘an indefinite period’ by the PCB who have decided his presence in the team is ‘harmful’ to the team environment. Repeatedly, during the press conference yesterday, Yousuf stressed that the decision to retire was ‘for now’ only, which like a Hollywood sequel, leaves the door open for ‘Mohamad Yousuf: The Return of the Bearded Man’. With the PCB hardly being an organisation noted for its consistency of decisions (and quite frankly probably only days away from the next board upheaval), we fully expect to see Yousuf back in a Pakistan shirt by the end of the year, if not before.

Without Yousuf and Younis Khan, their middle order is looking bereft of class and we fancy they would struggle against even the West Indies currently. The world of cricket needs a strong Pakistan and we would like to see him back in the team as soon as possible.

Saying that however, Yousuf is one of a few modern cricketers who have a very interesting record and is probably someone Shane Warne had in mind when criticising players whose records are skewed by their performances against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Factor out the other weak side of the past 5 years, the West Indies, and suddenly the number of hundreds Yousuf scored drops dramatically. Against these 3 he scored 11 hundreds in just 19 test matches at a huge average. Compare this to his record against Australia and South Africa (an average of under 30 and one hundred) and it does not look like Yousuf was a player who could handle the big time. There is bad news for English fans though, as if you use his batting as a barometer of world bowling attacks, England’s comes in very low with Yousuf’s average of 70 and 6 hundreds.

These quibbles aside, few would doubt Yousuf’s class and importance to the Pakistani team (PCB excepted), and there have certainly been few more graceful batsman over the last 20 years. An off drive or lazy flick through mid wicket became a thing of beauty in his hands and we hope to see them back before too long. A batsman can only score runs against whoever it is he has bowling at him, and this ability to score big runs against the lesser teams is a credit to the man. A couple of hundreds against the big guns is all that is needed to assuage our doubts – for that though, he has to play!

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