Yusuf Pathan has provided another batting option at the top of the order © Getty Images
Yusuf Pathan has provided another batting option at the top of the order © Getty Images

 

By Santanu Dutta

 

Yusuf Pathan emphatically showed in South Africa that he can whack even quality international attacks to any part of the ground, irrespective of the wicket conditions or the opposition.

 

Before the South African one-day series, or probably a season back, the public perception was that Yusuf is, at best good, enough to throw his bat around and entertain the spectators for the T20 format. But all that changed when he smacked a blazing hundred against New Zealand.

 

Despite his hundred, critics said Yusuf is yet to be tested in overseas conditions and on bowler-friendly pitches. But those who saw his big-hitting in South Africa would now be forced to salute his effort.

 

Yusuf’s big-hitting gives the team management one extra option at the World Cup – try him out as an opener, though India have three eminently qualified men for that position in Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir.

 

He could throw the plans of the opposition in complete disarray if he launches into attack right at the top of the order. In that mood, there is not much the fielding team can do, except quietly appreciate.

 

The Indian team management is not known to be flexible in its strategies, but employing Yusuf as a surprise weapon in the opening slot will be worth the gamble.

 

In Indian conditions, a flying start from one of the top two is enough to swing the outcome of a match. Remember the strategy adopted by Sri Lanka via Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana enroute to winning the 1996 World Cup?

 

Yusuf as an opener will certainly catch oppositions by surprise. He could be a lethal weapon.

 

(Dr. Santanu Dutta is doctor by profession who has huge passion for cricket)