Mohammad Yousuf: 15 interesting facts about the great Pakistani batsman

Mohammad Yousuf, born August 27, 1974, is a former Pakistani cricketer, a left-handed prolific batsman who has scored runs on a consistent basis for Pakistan. On his birthday, Suraj Choudhari pens down 15 interesting facts on one of the most successful left-handers in the Pakistani line-up whose career was filled with controversies.

1. Christian: Mohammad Yousuf was a born Christian. His name was Yousuf Youhana, by which name he played a part of his international career. He was among the few Christians to have featured for the Pakistan national team.

2. Fruitless debut: Yousuf made his international debut in a Test against South Africa at Durban in 1998, scoring a paltry six runs in the two innings.

3. Embracing Islam: In 2005, he Yousuf converted to Islam and took a new name, Mohammad Yousuf.

4. Disowned by the family: Yousuf s mother was aghast by his decision to accept Islam. She was quoted in the Daily Times Newspaper: I don’t want to give Yousuf my name after what he has done. We came to know about his decision when he offered Friday Prayers at a local mosque. It was a shock.”

5. Bradmanesque run: Yousuf stunned the cricket cognoscenti when he scored 1788 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 99.33 in the calendar year of 2006.

6. Most hundreds in a calendar year: Yousuf smashed nine career-defining Test centuries in the year 2006 the highest by any batsman in a calendar year.

7. ICC Test Player of the Year: In 2007, Yousuf was honoured with ICC Test Player of the year Award for his tally of 944 runs in six Tests at an average of 94.40. He also scored five centuries.

8. Lahore Badshah in the ICL: Yousuf signed a contract with Lahore Badshahs in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2007 but backed out on pressure on him by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

9. Comeback century: Yousuf returned to ICL in 2008 and found himself in fuss and controversy regarding his inclusion in the national side. But he secured his place in the side with an impactful hundred in a Test against Sri Lanka at Galle 2009.

10. Captain: Yousuf led Pakistan in Tests on couple of tours to New Zealand and Australia in 2009. But he didn t manage taste success. Pakistan squared the series against New Zealand and were whitewashed by the Aussies.

11. Retired? There is a lot of fuss regarding Yousuf s retirement from international cricket. He was quoted in a PTI report as saying, I am already out of the Pakistan team and haven’t played top class cricket for a while now, so what is the purpose of me announcing any retirement?”

12. Fourth-highest Test scorer: Yousuf is the fourth-highest run scorer for Pakistan in Tests with 7530 runs in his basket. In 90 Tests, he averages 52.29 with 24 splendid centuries to his name.

13. Second-highest ODI run getter: Yousuf has inscribed his name in most of the record books for Pakistan. He is the second on the list of highest run-scorer for Pakistan in One-Day Internationals (ODIs), just behind Inzamam-ul-Haq. In 281 ODIs, Yousuf has amassed 9554 runs at a healthy average of just over 42 with 15 centuries.

14. TV expert: Yousuf is renowned cricket expert and id often seen at TV shows speaking about the subtle intricacies of the game.

15. Altercation with Rameez Raja: Former Pakistani cricketer Rameez Raja recently got into a war of words with Yousuf over the inclusion on Mohammad Amir back into the international side. The discussion on national television show on Geo Super Channel went overboard as it headed towards personal course and inappropriate language was used. Yousuf also termed Raja as a ‘Sifarashi’ player and was equipped to be just a teacher.

(Suraj Choudhari, an avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with Criclife)x