Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mohammad Yousuf is Special

Mohammad Yousuf continues to hit test hundreds, while Ajantha Mendis continues to fail against Pakistan.

The best part about this was that Yousuf did not read Mendis at all during his knock of 112.

Mendis turned the ball both ways and quite a bit too; all this while Yousuf was caught at sea plenty of times.

Yet, he survived and Mendis failed to undo him or any of the Pakistani batsmen in his 25 overs.

Mendis' woeful run against Pakistan continues.

When Yousuf wasn't up against Mendis, he looked like the beautious sight he always is with a bat in hand.

The drives through cover and mid on were all intact and he continued to pile on the runs; it didn't look like he was playing test cricket after 19 months!

Yes it has been that long.

In his 80th test, Yousuf brought up his 24th century, taking him ahead of Javed Miandad (23) and one behind Inzamam Ul Haq (25).

For me, Inzamam is the best batsman ever produced by Pakistan; it would kill me to call Yousuf that, however, I feel that at times personal animosity should be kept aside when judging a cricketer.

Putting all that I have against Yousuf aside, there is no doubt that he is a special batsman.

His 24th century came in only his 80th test match; Inzamam hit 25 in 120 tests and Javed Miandad 23 in 124 tests.

That is enough to realize that Yousuf is probably the best batsman to have ever played for Pakistan.

Even when compared with the rest of the world, Yousuf is definitely one of the greats.


Among all batsmen with a minimum of 15 test centuries, there are only 4 batsmen that took fewer innings than Yousuf does to score their next hundred.

Among contemporary test batsmen, Yousuf scores test centuries more often than anyone else.

He does so at a slightly better rate than Kevin Pietersen and Ricky Ponting; he does so more often than Matthew Hayden and Gary Sobers did, and he does so more often than Sachin Tendulkar does!

Now who can say that isn't special!

Make your pitch on this post...



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32 Pitched:

  1. Stani Army said...
     

    And Mendis said that no teams worked him out?

    I think this time out's made Yousuf hungrier....how scary is that!

  2. Naked Cricket said...
     

    Stani, does hungrier mean even more foot in the mouth? :)

    Q, Last series in India, MoYo wasted away at 3rd man - almost like Ganguly towards the end of his career. Btw where was he fielding y'day? He was chattier alright, no?

  3. Sam said...
     

    Q, i believed you would stick to your words that he is a useless man despite a century yesterday or 10 in 10 next....

    but a century here and u changed ur opinion abt him. didnt u ? u were pretty miffed when he joined icl to ipl to icl !!

  4. Late Inswing said...
     

    He certainly is special. There is a poise and assuredness he brought into his game.

    Your stat of innings per 100 is an interesting compilation. Aravinda de Silva, I thought, had once such run where he used to score a hundred at will. Yousuf did it in 2006 and now seems to start from where he let off.

  5. Q said...
     

    Stani,

    Mendis was wrong..

    Yousuf looked every inch the batsman he always has..

  6. Q said...
     

    NC,

    Lets hope that foot remains where it is supposed to remain.

    He fielded inside the ring.. cover, mid on.. never on the boundary..

  7. Q said...
     

    Sam,

    Read again, very carefully.. this is what I say:

    "I feel that at times personal animosity should be kept aside when judging a cricketer.
    Putting all that I have against Yousuf aside, there is no doubt that he is a special batsman."

    Hence, my opinion remains..

    There's a difference between appreciating a batsmen and a person...

    Just because u don't like someone, doesn't mean u can't appreciate their skills...

  8. Q said...
     

    Late,

    That's right.. I believe De Silva has a run of 7 tests in which he scored centuries.. I might be wrong but will check that..

    2006 was a dream run for Yousuf.. its a pity Pakistan didn't play enough test cricket after that..

  9. Fark said...
     

    Q,

    Hello there! He definitely is special for sure. His consistency is quite incredible, as is his strike rate.

    Thank you for also educating me about his selfish aspect! Never read too deep into it because I believe this whole ICL, IPL and boards thing goes a little deeper than what we casual observers see it as!

  10. karachi khatmal said...
     

    Q

    Did you get a chance to see Max Babri on tv? it was great fun...

    personally, i've always loved MoYo, but after his conversion things became iffy. when he was scoring as youhanna, you felt so happy that maybe pakistanis will find a minority as a hero, and then learn to love and accept all the minorities in our country. then he converted and scored bucketloads, and all the crazy fundos - most of whom were never interested in cricket - pointed to his conversion as the sole reason, and used him to trumpet their opinions.

    REGARDLESS, he is such a joy to watch. and as far as i am concerned, there are only two main criteria for judging a batsman - how good is he to watch, and his ability to score crunch innings. MoYo is brilliant to watch, and often gets the great innings as well.

  11. raj said...
     

    I am with Fark on this. And this working up oneself over patriotism in reference to a sporting team also makes me laugh.
    It's like this:
    Serving in the army =Patriotism
    Serving in the cricket team != patriotism.

    Cricket is a sport. Fun. Game. Dont read patriotism into it.

    Also, working oneself into a frenzy over nationalism, and hating other nationals is no less reprehensible than state-based narrow mindedness.

    As Fark said, ICL, IPL etc go much deeper than what we can glean at surface.

    Nice of us to sit here,and comment on Cricketers for whom Cricket is their only marketeable skill, and that too only during their prime. They have to live a life time after that - and nothing wrong in an individual making choices that he thinks helps that goal. As long as he isnt throwing matches by accepting money. As long as he isnt selling his country. Playing in ICL isnt a crime. I say this as a long time critic of IPL-haters who tend to rubbish IPL but think the world of ICL. Basically, those guys have an agenda to rubbish BCCI and anything it does. However, to turn the opposite, and rubbish ICL is equally stupid and agenda-based.

    There is nothing wrong with MoYo. Much is wrong in the way we see Cricket as a proxy for nationalism.

  12. raj said...
     

    Q, that said, you have to inflation-adjust the 24 100s of MoYo against the 23 of Javed Miandad. Different times. Different standards of bowling attacks. Different styles of pitches.

    To me, Javed remains the best ever paki batsman.

  13. Q said...
     

    Fark,

    Yep, he is special.

    I agree that the ICL/IPL drama goes a lot deeper than what we see it as, but that does not take away the fact that Yousuf left Pakistan in compromising positions before..

  14. Q said...
     

    KK,

    No I missed the Max interview. If its available online, or if someone has a transcript, I would love to see it.

    It was good to see him score as Yohanna, but he only got better when he became Mohammad.. and ur right, he's so easy on the eyes... a treat!

  15. Q said...
     

    Raj,

    I agree with almost everything you have said. I also believe there was nothing wrong in those who went the ICL way.

    My issue was with how Yousuf went abt it. That's all.

    But again, that does not come in between my judgement of him as a batsman.

    Ur right abt the inflated bit.. but for me Inzi will remain the best Pakistani batsman ever. I think he was far ahead of Javed.

  16. Fark said...
     

    Q- don't get me wrong, I'd definitely take your word for it about the past experiences, and the fact that he has left the team in a lurch before.


    It's just that I think that sometimes, we might not know the full story from their aspect. We must also remember that for many of these players, especially from the sub-continent, cricket's their only way out. Many of them lack the formal education ,awareness and sensitivity of situations , that we might expect out of professionals from "other fields", if you may. Thus, it is quite safe to assume that for many of them, only cricket, and not communication, sensitivity etc is their forte.

    The boards, management, team personnel, etc must take such talented players in the wing and help them, utilize their skills, and also make the communications better between them and the common junta.

    Come to think of it, in our regular lives too , we face a lot of tough situations with bosses, team-mates and other such things. We might deal with it diplomatically, but even we falter often.

    What's your take?

  17. Q said...
     

    Fark,

    I understand and agree with exactly what u have said.

    I've done tons of posts in the past talking abt the free market for cricketers, the need to allow them to choose their employers, and so on...

    There I have no arguement.

    In this Yousuf instance, I'll give u the specific example.

    He signed with the ICL. I didn't have a problem with that.

    He cancelled his ICL contract cos PCB told him they need him. Still no issues.

    He fails to get an IPL contract cos of the ICL court case, which is never ending.

    He gets selected for Pak's squad to face Windies in AD (Nov '08), but disappears and appears in the ICL without telling anyone.

    PCB find out from his wife.

    Now that is where my issue begins. He ditched the team.

    He's made his choice, which again for me is like picking ICL over country - not such a big issue. That's ok. But I still feel he should not have done it, but don't hold it against him.

    Once in India for the ICL, he speaks up against Shoaib Malik and how he did not treat him right, he speaks against PCB, he speaks against the selectors, and disses one and all connected to Pak Cricket.

    Again, his opinion, no problems. He's entitled to them.

    But then comes the shocker.

    ICL goes bust, Yousuf comes back, cancels his contract, and says Pakistan has always been his priority and that his loyalties lie with Pakistan.

    My issue with that is, if Pakistan was his priority why did he ditch the team on their departure for Abu Dhabi?

    He's a liar. And he's selfish.

    Most people think that he is greedy and he did all this for money. That is not true. His ICL contract did not even give him half of what he makes playing for Pakistan.. it wasn't for the money. His defection was due to genuine problems with Pakistan's team management, captain, and board.

    But then, which player doesn't have those issues? You don't ditch your country for them.

    That is my take.

    Despite all that, he is still a special batsman!

  18. Fark said...
     

    Thanks for illustrating that example Q. It does definitely look like MoYo handled that affair pretty bad and showed his lack of maturity and priorities.

    One thing that would definitely help is if the best people are there at the right positions - from the board to the selectors , team management who are also in a position to advise and mentor the players on handling things outside of the playing field.

    Like Raj said earlier - my stance on patriotism associated with sport is probably a little different than what is normally accepted, but that's not the topic here for sure :-)

  19. straight point said...
     

    raj you dont have to be patriotic/unpatriotic to put the country you play for into embarrassing situation...

    isn't it...?

    q will condone this that he virtually black mailed pcb on more than once...made them pay for lawyers for lawsuits HE was facing...dumped them...turned up for them...then dumped them again...

    pls enlighten me where does the patriotism issue comes in this...?

  20. Q said...
     

    Fark,

    Regarding patriotism and sports, I am with you and Raj..

    As far as the right people are concerned, they will help to some extent..

    But the thing is that 20 other people defected to the ICL with Yousuf, but it was only he who ditched the team and spoke against it. The others went abt their business. That was unwanted.

    Besides that I don't have an issue..

  21. Q said...
     

    SP,

    I wouldn't exactly condone it, but that's not how it exactly happened.

    After Yousuf cancelled his ICL contract, the ICL filed a case against him. The PCB's lawyers fought the case for Yousuf because it was them who had forced Yousuf to cancel his ICL contract..

    That case went on for a year without a result, when Yousuf ditched Pakistan and left for the ICL.

    Yousuf did not blackmail the PCB.

  22. straight point said...
     

    my question is still unanswered Q... :)

  23. Q said...
     

    I'll leave that for Raj :-)

  24. raj said...
     

    Well, Sp, the thing is I dont see PCB as a country - rather, I see it as say Coke vs Pepsi. You work for Pepsi, you get shabbily treated, or atleast have a perception like that, you shift to Coke. You bad mouth Pepsi bitterly. My take is that this is how MoYo's life panned out, Except that he was dealing with nationalism and emotions associated hence the mess and hatred.

    This happens to thousands and millions possibly of professionals all the time. This is the only way I can see it. Very human, I'd say. Not SRT standards, but in my books, not reprehensible.
    Ofcourse, that bit about making PCB pay his legal bills, and then hotfooting it is certainly condemnable. I didnt know of this before. With this piece of information, my take will surely change.

  25. karachi khatmal said...
     

    although this debate has enough differences already, here is another angle to it.

    while it may be UNFAIR to equate playing for your country with patriotism, it doesn't quite work like that, especially in pakistan.

    a tenuous sense of national identity and a plethora of political problems means that the cricket team is easily one of the most, if not the most, viable symbol of pakistani national identity. that shouldn't be the case but it is.

    i'm not saying that this is a desirable or a sustainable situation, but that is the reality in pakistan.

    ergo, while MoYo's behavior might not have been much different from any professional, it does have huge consequences in our country.

    that still doesn't diminish the beauty of his cover drive, or the atrociousness of his running between the wickets, but that is how it is.

  26. Wasim said...
     

    Nobody ever doubted his abilities as a batsman, most of us didn't liked his business ethics.

    Almost every T20 team left out a few of their senior Odi and test batsmen from their T20 Squads Yousaf should have accepted that decision.

    There was a report that he made around a million $ from ICL so the argument that he made far less money than what he makes from PCB doesn't hold.

    Money has been his top priority, so I don't buy his excuses.

    It's good to have him back in the Pakistani test and Odi line up, I hope he learns from his mistakes and doesn't try to black mail PCB in future.

  27. raj said...
     

    Sam, what's your opinion on Karna from Mahabharat?

  28. Q said...
     

    Raj,

    I like the Coke v Pepsi example u give. Again an employee vs employer position, which is what it is with the boards, ICL, IPL, etc..

    As for the legal bills.. it was the PCB's case to fight since it was against their contracted player..

  29. Q said...
     

    KK,

    I think u have explained the situation perfectly. That is how it is in Pakistan.

    And I agree that it shouldn't be but it is.

    The bottom line as u say, it doesn't take away from the beautious sight he is as a batsman!

  30. Q said...
     

    Wasim,

    I agree.. Kallis was also dropped.. Ganguly, Dravid, Sachin didn't play either.. Yousuf should have taken it in his stride..

    But I do believe that he left cos of differences with Malik and the board and that he was closer to people like Inzi who were constantly requesting him to play in the ICL.

  31. Sam said...
     

    Simple point : you cannot time your return to the national fold per your convinience. and if somebody does that, simple take disciplinary action against him.

    but then MY is special cos he scores centuries at will. whatever happened to team ethics is hardly an issue.

    Raj you got to tell me where does the Karn issue and patriotism come here ?

    and it would be laughable if you equate Karn with MoYo.

  32. raj said...
     

    Sam, forget it. I thought I could explain "grey" to you, but I think you are comfortable dealing only with black and white.

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