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Nadeem Yousuf - Cricket Crusader

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nadeem Yousuf, an all-round cricketer of note in his days in the Pakistan domestic cricket, embodies restless energy that if channelled prudently could serve the game, he has devoted most of his 64 years to, with great results.

The worldwide epidemic caused by coronavirus (covid-19) has certainly tested the patience of the man, who since touring England with Pakistan Super Veterans in the 2019 summer, has found it hard to hide his frustration whilst setting up ‘Nadeem Yousuf Education and Cricket Foundation’ in Lancashire and now actively seeking for more talent-developing opportunities.

Nadeem with considerable coaching experience in Pakistan, England, USA and Canada, is a renowned figure, for his work at grassroots level with clubs, schools and universities. His sound advice to the boys has been to keep a second option, in case they are unable to make cricket their career.

Since 2011 he has committed himself to unearthing talent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province and then followed it up in Baluchistan. He strongly believes in working outside the main centres of cricket in Pakistan where the infrastructure of the game is far from developed and vast majority of boys come from under-privileged background. Nothing would give him more satisfaction than to see raw talent from remote and lesser-known districts of Pakistan to emerge to the very top of the tree.

Born on May 16, 1957 in Karachi (Sind), Pakistan, Nadeem Yousuf Khan, traces his ancestry to Afghan Yousufzai tribe and just before partition to Hyderabad (Deccan) in British India. One of the seven siblings, his older brother Masood Raheel Khan provided the much-needed family support, since their father - Abdu Samad Khan Hafiz - had passed away in 1967 in Karachi. Masood had dreams of the younger brother, batting in the same mould as Sir Garfield Sobers, one day. Nadeem was trusted to lead St. Lawrence’s Boys School, as a Year 7 student, once losing a close semi-final contest to Church Mission School (CMS), led by none other than, Javed Miandad, later to develop into one of the finest batsman produced by Pakistan.

Nadeem caught the eye of Sind Cricket Association (SCA) selection committee, chaired by former Pakistan Test paceman – Mahmood Hussain - in the junior camps. He was taken in Sind Colts managed by Razaullah Khan ‘Saaeen’ and it also featured Javed Miandad, Sikander Bakht, Mansoor Akhtar, Qasim Umar, Nasir Valika, Humayun Dyer, Ilyas Khan, Khalid Irtiza, Arif-ud-din, Kamal Merchant, etc. In the days Nadeem had to change two buses, before the third one would bring him to the National Stadium, Karachi.

Besides Razaullah in this period, Nadeem also picks Master Abdul Aziz, Shahid Pervez (Captain Sind Colts), Ishaque Patel and Sheikh Nissar – founder of Shadab Sports, as those who believed in his ability and predicted a promising future. Under the influence of such dedicated minds, Nadeem would then enrol at Premier College on the basis of his cricketing ability and rarely disappointed against big sides. Nadeem was picked for Mahmood Hussain-led Chief Minister’s XI against Hanif Mohammed-led Governor’s XI, in the festival match played at Karachi Gymkhana, to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day, in August 1975. On the day he accounted for former Test captain - Saeed Ahmed, caught and bowled, for to remain his personal highlight.

He stepped into the first-class arena at 18 when picked for Karachi Blues in the Sikander Ali Bhutto Cup. Standing at short-leg, Nadeem had the privilege to study the great Hanif Mohammed, bat skilfully on a damp wicket, in his last season at this level of cricket. In his second game he picked up 5-41 against a strong Habib Bank side at Sialkot and followed it up with 5-20 against Sukkur at Sukkur in the1975-76 BCCP Patron’s Trophy. He also made it into the Sind team, led by Zaheer Abbas, in the 1976-77 Pentangular Trophy, One needed to be both smart and patient as a new-ball bowler on Karachi wickets, conventionally dominated by batsmen and slow bowlers. Nadeem certainly didn’t bowl enough for a strike bowler, with a natural out-swing to the right-handed batsmen.

In 1976-77 Nadeem’s potential was recognized by Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) and he we would feature in its first ever playing eleven in domestic cricket. Besides Nadeem, the Bank would also offer contracts to Qasim Umar, Ijaz Faqih, Farrukh Zaman, Ilyas Khan, Sajid Abbasi and Anwar-ul-Haq – all but one product of Karachi cricket. Nadeem’s career-best 7-19 with the ball, saw Punjab collapse to 88 all out on the opening day of the 1978-79 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match at Lahore. Despite match figures of 12-58 (in 24.2 eight-ball overs) and a gallant 48 at no.8, on the final day, MCB finished on the losing side.

A left-handed batsman, Nadeem brought up his maiden fifty in the 1977-78 BCCP Patron’s Trophy, against Bahawalpur at Bahawalpur. In the very next game he scored 107 and added 190 for the 7th wicket with skipper Faqih (183) against WAPDA at Hyderabad. His confidence would have grown even more, had one of the Pakistan Test captains – Asif Iqbal, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan or Zaheer Abbas – backed his all-round skills. Sadly it wasn’t meant to be and somewhat surprisingly Nadeem was never even considered for a side game against any touring teams to Pakistan. He seemed more disappointed with Miandad, who knew him far better than others, but only put forward his name to the selectors in 1984, in the year Sahiwal’s Manzoor Elahi got the nod.

The highlight of Nadeem’s career, was with the bat too, when he compiled an impressive unbeaten 202 (418 minute, 29 fours, 2 sixes) after having taken guard with MCB on 132-6 and facing a certain defeat. After adding 248 for the 7th wicket with Asif Ali (145), he further frustrated the National Bank pace bowling featuring Ehtesham-ud-din, Naseer Malik and Anwar Khan, by adding 196 runs with Maqsood Kundi (109), to claim an unlikely draw, in the 1981-82 PACO Cup at Lahore. Prior to Nadeem only Imtiaz Ahmed (1950-51) and Hanif Mohammad (1957-58), amongst Pakistanis had scored a double hundred, after following-on. Some achievement. The 10th wicket record in Pakistan, stood till 2014-15.

In the limited overs cricket, Nadeem was extremely useful for besides taking a new ball, he was more than a handy batsman in middle or lower order and represented Sindh and MCB in the domestic cricket. He scored a valiant unbeaten 103 for MCB against Habib Bank at Faisalabad in the1983-84 Wills Cup, as his side lost by 19 runs. He twice achieved the figures of 3-39, first for MCB against Rawalpindi at LCCA Ground, Lahore in the 1981-82 Wills Cup and second time for Karachi Blues against Lahore City Blues at Lahore in the 1985-86 President’s Cup.

As an all-rounder, Nadeem a professional with a number of leagues in the north of England and was always in demand in the1977-90 period. In his first summer in 1977, his name could have been put forward by professionals from Pakistan for any county trials and that too irks him to this day. Some of the clubs he was signed on as a professional included: Eagley CC (1977), Sacrision CC (1978), Golbourne CC (1979-80), Workington CC (1981-83), Ferguslie CC (1984-85), Motherwell CC (1986-88), Hendon CC (1989-90). At Workington, he scored more than 2000 runs and picked up 200 wickets in his three years at the club. An outstanding CV after 14 summers in UK with a long list of match-winning performances to his name with both bat and ball, in league and knock-out cup games.

After a season with Northern District (Sydney) in the Australian Grade Cricket in 1990-91 season, in 1991 he would head to USA, with 1995-99 period as California-based director of the National Junior and Youth Cricket Development Programme of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA). In USA he had the opportunity to interact and share his experience with some of the big names, including Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Vivian Richards, Michael Holding, Alvin Kallicharran, Lawrence Rowe, Courtney Walsh, Kapil Dev, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Sir Ian Botham, Jimmy Adams, Duleep Mendis and Roy Dias.

After a stint in California, in his final three years in Florida, Nadeem played his part in the promotion of the game in USA with the network of 600 registered clubs and 10,000 active cricketers. In May 2008, he was part of the management that hosted the MAQ T20 cricket tournament in Florida, as part of the programme of Cricket Council United States of America (CCUSA). He left USA in the middle of his appointment as head of the Cricket Development Council.

After returning back to the U.K. Nadeem has also represented Appleby-Frodingham CC (2005-08), Scunthorpe Town CC (2009), in the premier leagues of both Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. More recently in U.K, he has been with Halli Sports as Sales Assistant in 2014 before being appointed as coach at Goldborne CC, his old club where he had a couple of seasons in his early 20s.

Mushtaq Mohammed on Nadeem Yousuf

‘Nadeem Yousuf, in his prime was a very good all-round cricketer. I only have a vague recollection of his appearances as after settling down in UK in 1964, besides representing Pakistan, I would return back after my commitments with Karachi or PIA in the national domestic cricket. But my younger brother Sadiq Mohammed and other family members including Shoaib Mohammed, Asif Mohammed and Shahid Mohammad, are in no doubt of Nadeem’s quality as a new-ball bowler and a very useful lower order left-handed batsman, whilst winning selection for Karachi, Sind and MCB. I am also informed that he was in great demand in league cricket in UK too, which given his all-round skills, is hardly surprising.’

‘It was an irony of fate that Nadeem’s career coincided with a number of Pakistan all-rounders – Imran Khan, Wasim Raja, Mudassar Nazar, Naved Anjum, Manzoor Elahi, etc. – thus denying him the chance to shine even brighter than he did. Despite his consistency, the selectors didn’t pick him for any side matches against the touring teams. I find that hard to believe. It was a shame for 13 seasons in the domestic cricket, he was a match winner with both bat and ball in first-class and List A (limited-overs) matches.

‘With an ability to turn the contest in a short space of time, I am sure Nadeem was a captain’s dream. One of his most memorable knocks – an unbeaten 202, batting at number 8, after following-on in 1982, is quite rare. I am sure he would have been very proud of it. I personally know as an all-rounder myself, how much a team can start relying on one‘s role to achieve favourable results. Having grown up in Karachi in the early 1970s, the present craze of T20 cricket would have been right up his street and Nadeem would have adapted to it very well. ‘

‘Nadeem is a very determined person and has been actively engaged in his vision to work at grassroots level in both England and Pakistan. With my coaching experience, he has approached me and I am very impressed with his ambitious projects that clearly reflect his passion for the game of cricket. He has invited me to travel with him to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) to have a first-hand experience of the rich talent that exists in north-west of Pakistan. I look forward to it and wish him the very best for the future.’