Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009 July 7, 2009

Yousuf and the true path to greatness

Pakistan's best batsman doesn't have the quality that his predecessors possessed - the ability to weigh anchor and force less stable fellows to cling on to him

My faith in Pakistan chasing any second innings total didn't last long. In 1982, I ventured to Edgbaston expecting Imran Khan's team would score around 300 to beat England. I was filled with the optimism of youth. Looking back, almost any target would have troubled Pakistan. The day turned out to be a rapid and mostly cavalier failure.

I'm not sure I've ever recovered. Whenever Pakistan bat in the final innings of a Test match, whether to win or save the match, I expect the worst and desperately look for signs that any success is a turning point.

Younis Khan's team can't have found it easy to switch from the glamour of the Twenty20 World Cup to a gruelling Test series in Sri Lanka. But against all expectations they found themselves in a match-winning position. It was a position that they should have turned comfortably to victory.

Younis bemoaned a lack of steel and application among his senior players, echoes of his early complaints in the Twenty20 World Cup. He has a point. Pakistan's senior batsmen have historically struggled to summon sufficient mental fortitude to finish off a golden opportunity like the one presented to them at Galle.

This is why Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul Haq - and to some degree Imran Khan - were such special batsmen for Pakistan. They were able to weigh anchor and force their less stable fellows to cling on to them. It is an attribute that Younis aspires to but hasn't consistently mastered. Shoaib Malik is even less familiar with such heroics.

But Pakistan's biggest worry is that this skill has almost entirely escaped their heaviest run scorer. Mohammad Yousuf has continued almost exactly where he left off, with a fairytale first-innings hundred and a disappointment when it really mattered.

Don't get me wrong, Yousuf's return is a welcome triumph but Pakistan need him to play the decisive innings. These innings are hard to quantify but they are the ones that make the difference between success and failure. They mean more than averages and run-scoring records. These innings are the true path to greatness, a path that Mohammad Yousuf must tread.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on January 20, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    The most effective content articles I've ever checked out with this subject matter. Many thanks!

  • testli5504537 on January 19, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    My partner and i see this data quite valuable. Thanks a lot for the treasured details as well as information you've thus furnished on this website. Keep writing!

  • testli5504537 on December 8, 2010, 22:53 GMT

    Wow, that's crazy man. They should really try to do something to fix that.

  • testli5504537 on September 9, 2009, 7:30 GMT

    Kamran, I totally agree with your point of veiw but would add something, I may be wrong in veiw of some Pak cricket followers, I think most of these senior player must have the courage to evaluate them selves whether they are up to the standards of international cricket and the expectation of great Pakistani nation; which are crazy about the game and particularly winning. I think yousaf should only concentrate on tests rather than the one days and twenty twenty as these games demands high level of fitness. I like misbah to part of every format of the game but with a positvie attitude. Regarding shoaid malik I would say to take things seriously or leave some place for more serious and young players; prime example Umar Akmal, I know my country is full of such talented and committed laids. Shahid Afridi is the most God gifted player the only thing missing is application of talents. Younus should be more courageous to think beyond inclusion of non performing senior plays. Allah bless Pak.

  • testli5504537 on September 6, 2009, 19:18 GMT

    Yusuf's really is in the process of compiling his credentials as a great batsman and is still far from his destiny. He has played over 20 test matches against Australia, RSA & Sri Lanka but averages below 30 against them. Bulk of his score has come against weaker bowling attacks, Yousaf scores at over 100/innings against Bangladesh and Windies and has scored quite a lot of cricketing numbers against Zimbabwe but unfavorable circumstance is that all these teams are not known for their bowling attacks, WI was a force in good old days but that sizzling cart has lost its wheels and times have changed quite a lot. Of the remaining test playing nations Yousaf has been prolific against England and New Zealand and has been more than decent against India but this does not look enough for greatness. All these facts corroborate my notion that something needs to be done by potentially one of the greatest batsman of our times. Time and tide does not seem to be favoring his advanced age!!

  • testli5504537 on August 31, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    Muhammad Yousuf is just great as great V V Richardson former west indies captan

  • testli5504537 on August 30, 2009, 16:39 GMT

    Yousuf is a batsman of easy conditions. Whenever there is pressure or the batting conditions are difficult, he will be the first to leave.

  • testli5504537 on August 24, 2009, 20:47 GMT


  • testli5504537 on August 15, 2009, 4:04 GMT

    Paksitan is only a Team that is Unpredicable in this modren Era. We have only a problem is the Lack of Practice and our Cricket Acedmy is not so much Modren as compare to others' Country Acadmy. We need to improve our acadmic section and should use different petch adn practice. It will help our player to play Well in different country Like South Africa, Srilanka 7 Australia. Thanks

  • testli5504537 on August 11, 2009, 20:36 GMT

    There are many ways to describe Pakistan's Cricket team - Mercurial, Talented.....Controversial. Yet personally i feel that despite the prodigious talent recognizable in the team through players such as Younis Khan, Umar Gul, Mohammed Aamer, Mohammed Yousuf to name a few, their efforts are being severely undermined by degenerate cricketers such as Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif. They have continously let down the team and country through their shambolic disobedience, behaviour and attitude towards the game. It's sad that many people still talk of Shoaib Akhtar as a legend when quite frankly he has the worst fitness record in cricket.

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