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February 16, 2009

Ethics and morality

The curious case of Mohammad Yousuf

Kamran Abbasi
Mohammad Yousuf at a press conference after rejoining the ICL, Delhi, November 5, 2008
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The Pakistan Cricket Board is inquiring again into the circumstances of the forfeited Test at The Oval in 2006. It is an inquiry without a clear purpose. The match is now recorded as a technical defeat but the result is an irrelevance.

Although it was a moment when Pakistan cricket fought its corner in the world of cricket politics, two consequences have caused immeasurable damage. First, the rift between Inzamam-ul Haq and Bob Woolmer became ever wider. Second, the controversy ushered in Naseem Ashraf's disastrous reign as head of Pakistan cricket.

It was also the year that Mohammad Yousuf claimed the record number of Test runs in a year. Yousuf batted beautifully. He was easy on the eye yet his mind was tough. He was unbeatable and unswerving in his commitment to score more runs. The best years of his career were upon us. But the plummeting trajectory of Pakistan cricket has claimed him as a major victim.

Yousuf has done himself few favours. He has harboured a thinly veiled grudge over the cricket board's failure to appoint him as captain. His decision to turn to the ICL was rash and career threatening. And now, it is hard to imagine that his decision to see out his ICL contract is driven by principle rather than self interest.

Nonetheless, Yousuf has just cause for complaint. The purge of religion from Pakistan's team identified him as its most obvious target, and Shoaib Malik failed to bind his senior colleagues--and most notably Yousuf--to his cause. Too quickly, Yousuf moved from being indispensable to being yesterday's man, when his form and ability merited a greater respect and expectation.

The greatest failing, however, is that the Pakistan Cricket Board, like all other international cricket boards, slavishly followed the BCCI's lead in condemning ICL cricketers to a career without recognition or international cricket. Hence, whether Yousuf has arrived at his position through laziness or greed, the central point is valid: Why should players be unable to hold ICL contracts and play international cricket?

If there is an inquiry that the PCB needs to conduct with urgency it is one that questions the legitimacy of the stance of its fellow cricket administrations. Indeed, Pakistan cricket has lost more current international cricketers than any nation to ICL. How long will this abuse of cricketers and their international careers be allowed to continue without a serious challenge? This may not have been Mohammad Yousuf's intention but it should become the cause that reunites Pakistan cricket and gives the new cricket board immediate credibility.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Shehzad Ahmed on (March 25, 2009, 1:37 GMT)

I am pretty sure it wasn't for money b/c playing for Pakistan, IPL, and County would have brought in more money. The problem was the way he was treated. He was no doubt a world class batsman and the best and senior most player in Pakistani team yet he was surpassed by Younis first for captaincy who declined then Yousuf was announced as Captain and in dramatic reversal Shaoib who was just a freshmen with a modest stats was nominated captain. Just apply it to yourself in real life at your work place and tell me how would you feel when a fresh graduate with a little experience is made your manager?

Posted by syed kamal shah on (March 24, 2009, 20:04 GMT)

he is best player in world, may be next 100 year we not seen like him person in cricket, so plz bring in team,i want look him play, he is cricket simple style legent

Posted by Zaid_SRI LANKA on (February 22, 2009, 15:15 GMT)

its pakistan cricket which gave the fame for mohammed yousuf,if not for pakistan cricket mohammed yousuf woudnt have got a deal from ICL,he is a traitor

Posted by Muhammad Nauman on (February 20, 2009, 19:59 GMT)

Muhammad Yousaf will soon be back as we will soon be watching a sort of merger between icl and ipl as its all about money ansd its just a matter of time when ipl is going to offer icl money which will fill their mouth.... Pcb actually made the mess of yousafs case like many others. pcb has a bad record in handling the players and yousaf was no exception. it all started with appointment of a shoaib malik as captain(the decesion which no body could justify) . yousaf was droped from t20 squad and the attitude of the captain and the pcb towards yousaf was always insulting...yousafs decesion to join ipl was always on in these circumstances and he rightly took the opportunity. with another change in cricket administration yousaf can still walk in to the side with alot of pride.

Posted by vinov on (February 20, 2009, 13:25 GMT)

Any Passionate Cricket Fan likes to see INDIA Vs PAKISTAN Match Where both teams skills match almost which is not now. Now a days whenever there is a re telecast of old india pak match Im seeing it even it may be a highlight package. Longing for that to become live... as for Mohd. Yusuf, Whenever theres an international for pak or for that matter any country the players should represent the country and that IPL and ICL should have reserve and that it should be like domestic cricket. So there should be no alterations in FTP of ICC. This will also lead to other players of lesser known to get oppurtunities and make some money. or make include ICL in BCCI plans and make ICL for retired veterans and IPL for non retired. This wont deny ICL its due as we all like to watch our just retired players, the likes of Warne, Gilly, Waugh, Ganguly, Anil, Lara, Inzi etc., dont you peoples?

Posted by Chinmay on (February 20, 2009, 11:43 GMT)

@faisal: "i think its cricketers right to play anywhere in the world. Playing cricket is a human skill, like other skills (e.g. electerical eng, mechanicall engineer and more) as matter of fact people have been working for different countries regardless of their nationality so my point is why only cricketers are being blamed and banned they are doing their job their is nothing wrong so PCB should resile and get back those player in the teams the is right thing to do."

Have you ever seen a Mechanical Engineer working for, say Toyota and BMW at the same time? Or an Electronics engineer for Nokia and Sony Ericson? Or a computer engineer for both Microsoft and Google?

When you play for your country, or a county or IPL, you are, as a professional working for an affiliate of the ICC. When you play for ICL, you are playing for a competitor of the ICC. You can't do this and then cry about how professionals should be able to play where ever they like. Because they cannot not and should not.

Posted by Chinmay on (February 20, 2009, 11:36 GMT)

@Angi "So, what do you propose they do? Monopolise cricket? Make sure that any cricket match played anywhere in India has the 'stamp' of the BCCI? "

In case you haven't noticed, Sports IS a monopoly everywhere. ECB has monopoly over cricket in England, CA in Australia PCB in Pakistan, so, BCCI shouldn't have monopoly in India? Why not?

All the money ICL gets goes into the coffers of TV tychoon. BCCI reinvests most of the money back into Indian cricket (you should see cricket facilities in India after 2011 world cup). I'd rather keep the money within Indian cricket.

Monopoly applies to all the sports, btw. The FA for example, has monopoly over English football (it has a veto over any decision by the Premier League)

Besides, you will find, that in no profession will any organisation actively encourage competition for itself. Expecting BCCI to do so borders on craziness.

Posted by Terrence on (February 18, 2009, 13:31 GMT)

It is not all doom and gloom yet as far as Pakistan is concerned. Remember last time they met, Pakistan beat India convincingly in ODI.

Posted by Hussain Khan on (February 18, 2009, 10:00 GMT)

Whether M Yusuf harboured any grudge or not is immaterial. PCB should have handled him better to prevent him moving to ICL. Again its the incompetence of PCB and their lack of people managing skills. What can you expect from the current management comprising of former cricketers who may have been good players during their time but do not have the skills to manage a large organisation. PCB will get nowhere with the current people some of whom are so volatile that they are unable to work together as a coherent team.

Posted by Sad Pakistani on (February 18, 2009, 9:00 GMT)

I could not believe the comments that M. Yousuf made about honoring his 3-year contract with ICL. It was ok to break contract with PCB but he can't even think about breaking his 3-year (& very lucrative, I'm sure) contract with ICL. And how could he possibly not know that playing ICL would mean not being able to play for your country.

His comments certainly wreak of the grudge he holds against PCB. You can be upset at your team and hold different views; however, teamwork by definition demands that you stick to what your team/captain says or does.

PCB has got to stop harboring hopes of getting back players who have no sense of national prode and responsibility like Shoaib Akhtar, M. Asif, M. Yousuf. Move forward PCB, for heaven's sake!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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