Yousuf may need cricket, but cricket doesn’t need Yousuf!
By: Omair Alavi
It was just five years ago that Mohammad Yousuf became the highest run getter in a calendar year. It was the same year in which he won the ICC Award as well as accolades from all over the world. He was methodical, had the urge to score runs, and his record spoke of his achievements.
In a test career spanning 90 matches, Yousuf had scored 7530 runs at an average of 52.29 whereas in his 288-match ODI career, he had accumulated 9720 runs at an average of nearly 42. Impressive, isn’t it? But then why isn’t he in the team?
There are many factors due to which Mohammad Yousuf is no more wearing the Pakistani colours and religion has nothing to do with it. It took him a few years to transform from Yousuf Youhana to Mohammad Yousuf, but it took him a few minutes to become the villain from the Good Samaritan. No captain would want him in his side after what he did with Younis Khan.
He is credited as the one who gathered most of the players in the side and made them take an oath on the Holy Quran against the captain considered to be too demanding! The management knew of this act and didn’t do much as the manager Yawar Saeed was also present in the ceremony. Will you take Mohammad Yousuf in your side after this? No one will.
Secondly, his decision to play for Indian Cricket League made him a rebel, and he was banned from representing Pakistan. He did make a comeback during the Australian tour where he didn’t do much, and was sacked. Yousuf this time responded with a conditional retirement, meaning he would play if asked to, and would not play if not considered.
He has done that on three occasions now, and it is such inconsistency in character that has made even his most staunch supporters criticize him. He did get a chance to show his skills against England during the ‘Spot-fixing’ tour, but he seemed a shadow of his old self, since he didn’t bat well and was stupefied whenever fielding.
As per chief selector Iqbal Qasim’s views, Yousuf can only play if he plays in domestic cricket, if he does better than the rest, if the team needs him, which doesn’t seem realistically possible. For those who don’t know, Qasim was the chief selector who quit because the team surrendered against Australia ‘Down Under’, the tour after which Yousuf was banned altogether.
Secondly, with youngsters like Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Umar Akmal coming into the national side and cementing their place with good performances, Yousuf doesn’t stand a chance. Not only is he a bad influence on the newcomers but also on the whole team, something the current number 4 batsman Younis Khan knows better than anyone.
The prolific batsman of yesteryears has not played domestic cricket for more than a year now as he was busy preaching alongside his former team mates Saeed Anwar and Inzamam ul Haq. He missed whatever tournaments were played on the first class circuit including the National T20 and National One-Day Tournament, whereas also skipped the first class matches for no reason. Until and unless he plays, scores and shows his commitment to play for the national side, he stays out.