Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay – Mohammad Yousuf is born - once in a generation batting talent who provided Pakistan's batting solidity
August 27, 1974 - In 2006, Yousuf scored 1,788 runs from 11 test matches at an average of 99.33 with 9 hundreds, breaking Sir Vivian Richards' 30-year-old record and became the player to score the most runs in a calendar year ever.
When we are done with getting his name right - Mohammad Yousuf not Yousuf Youhana, there is a glittering career to look at.
Yousuf became the fourth Christian player to play for Pakistan, and the best without a doubt. After a disappointing debut against South Africa in which he managed just 6 runs from 2 innings, with time, Yousuf became one of the most prolific run scorers for Pakistan.
He finished his career as the fourth-highest run scorer for Pakistan in test cricket, only behind Younis Khan, Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq. Yousuf scored 7,530 runs from 90 matches at an average of 52.29 with 24 centuries and 33 half-centuries and the best of 223.
In white ball cricket as well, Yousuf finished as a giant - the second-highest run scorer for Pakistan with 9,720 runs, just 280 runs shy of the 10,000-run landmark. Yousuf averaged 41.71 in ODIs, scoring his runs at a decent clip of 75.10 with 15 centuries and 64 half-centuries with the best of 141 not out.
In 2005, Yousuf Youhana embraced Islam publicly and took a new name, Mohammad Yousuf. Call it a mere coincidence or what you wish to, but there was a significant improvement in Yousuf's game following the event.
Just next year, in 2006, Yousuf scored 1,788 runs from 11 test matches with 9 hundreds, breaking Sir Vivian Richards' 30-year-old record. His runs came at an average of 99.33 in 2006 as Yousuf became the player to score the most runs in a calendar year ever.
In 2007, his tally of 944 runs from 6 test matches at an average of almost 95, with five centuries, brought him the ICC Test Player of the Year award.
After several run-ins with the Pakistan Cricket Board, Yousuf decided to join the rebel Indian Cricket League in 2007. After much deliberation, he was taken back into the international fold and named captain for the Pakistan tour of New Zealand and Australia in 2009.
Following a draw against New Zealand, Pakistan were whitewashed by the Australians. In an unprecedented move by the Pakistan Cricket Board, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan were slapped life-bans. Yousuf's ban was overturned in 2010 after which he went on to play just a few games which marked an unceremonious end to a brilliant career.
“I have received a letter from the PCB suggesting that my presence in the team is harmful for the team and so I announce my retirement from international cricket,” Yousuf said after the ban. “I thank fans around the world, all the senior players and family members for supporting me throughout my 12-year career. I have always played for my country and if my playing is harmful for the team then I don’t want to play.”
However, in 2013, Yousuf backtracked and said that he hadn't officially retired yet. The batsman said that the selectors were not considering him for selection and he hadn’t had the chance to play regular cricket for a while now. Unfortunately, a recall never came.
Yousuf has recently been appointed as the batting coach at the National high performance centre in Lahore. We wish that he takes his coaching career to the heights that his playing career reached.
© Cricket World 2020