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December 4, 2009

New Zealand 2009

Yousuf's test of leadership

Kamran Abbasi


Mohammad Yousuf: a captain trying to earn respect © Associated Press
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Mohammad Yousuf's team is in a dominant position after two further days of gripping Test cricket. It is an advantage that Pakistan could not have contemplated until the bowlers got to work. Daniel Vettori and colleagues are doing a good job in talking up their chances but Pakistan will be mortified if they fail to level the series from here.

It is especially frustrating being a Pakistani supporter at the moment. There are genuine reasons for excitement, almost exclusively resting with Pakistan's diverse and penetrative bowling attack. The other beacon has been the batting of the Akmal brothers, especially Umar who will have an opportunity to put the match beyond New Zealand on the third day.

But some of their fellows and the strategies are causing perplexion and inviting criticism. Yousuf is baffled by criticism as he is making decisions by consensus, including the surprising call to send Umar in at number three when more experienced batsmen were available.

Listening to debate and discussion is an important part of leadership, as is being able to see a solution that might not be your own. But experts reckon that 80% of leadership is decision making, and Yousuf must move from merely reflecting the consensus view to listening to the discussion and making his own decision.

By that route he will adhere to one of the tenets of good captaincy demonstrated by Mike Brearley, and explained in this week's Times by Michael Atherton: "A good captain doesn't demand respect, he earns it."

When Yousuf came out to bat at number three in today's second innings, the heat was one. His country needed experience in the middle. Yousuf made the right decisions. First he appeared and then Misbah. That's how you earn respect and silence your critics. With that attitude Pakistan have a chance of turning this series on its head.

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Posted by Omar on (December 9, 2009, 12:09 GMT)

Congrats to yousuf for winning the Test everybody should respect him he is a classical players he is the best few betsman in the world his captaincy is very good job i think pcb should appoint captain to yousuf until 2011 world cap then pak team will be improve and will top place test and oneday rank Best of luck yousuf

Posted by Tanweer on (December 9, 2009, 11:16 GMT)

I honestly dont know what you have against Yousuf? You seem to be pushing Younis as Champion, but I cannot recollect one game where he played like a champion, not one game. Mohammad Yousuf played like a champion in the fourth inning of first test and in the third inning, to absorb that pressure and play those dot balls to achieve the end result that’s what makes a champion. To focus on the end result, play yourself in, play the dot ball, take the pressure and try to achieve the target. We lost the first test but we came close to winning it, but I held my head up knowing we did not buckle up, he fought with courage and determination. In test cricket courage is not to slog and but to play the dot balls and don’t give your opponent chance of picking your wicket. I honest cannot see Younis taking the pressure, he would have come out and try to hit the first ball out of the ground and most likely to get out. I clearly remember Younis Khan doing it against India and got out the first

Posted by Rashid on (December 9, 2009, 2:31 GMT)

Please get SHOAIB MALIK out of Pak team and bring Afridi for the third test.If Shoib Malik cannot play Nz then what makes them think that he will score a century with Aussies.Shoib Malik can only play on a flat pitch.Or bring a new face the face of...........

Posted by RAHMAN on (December 9, 2009, 1:57 GMT)

Having won one test and said that Yousuf good captain is not right. test is only won due to our bowling otherwise the score we have in both innings are not too much against any other side whose batting are slightly good than NewZealand. Secondly, Yousuf is too innocent like Younis and players like Shoib Malik and Misbah take advantage of that and create rift between these two to have themselves in the team despite poor run of form. If we selected player from Domestic cricket as Misbah is selected for 284 runs (after than he how much he score in test ?) than Raffat Mohammad just score a triple century and he should be in the team instead of Imran Farhat who didn;t do anything in two test but he has good qualification that his father in law is selector.

Least but not last 3 players should be out of team permanently- Imran Farhat, Shoib Malik and Mishab and one is Faisal he also come here on same qualification as Imran Farhat but only thing that he didn;t have much chances like Imran

Posted by Fizul on (December 9, 2009, 0:43 GMT)

From where I'm sitting here in the Caribbean it doesn't look all that bad, but Pakistan cricket is in some serious trouble.I've seen the squad for australia.They are in for some good licks. How can you take a squad without Younis Khan and two butter finger openers. Remember it was the bowlers that win the second test in new zealand.I think it's too much gamble with that weak batting line up.

Posted by drmjalamgir on (December 8, 2009, 19:48 GMT)

Almost every coment posted suggested ,some of them rather requested Shoaib Malik should be rested. Surprisingly still retain a place in the squad of 16 for Austrailian tour. Why is he so influential in P.C.B. Does pakistan cricket worthy of any sense. Is it a falt of mohammad Yousaf? I request Shoaib Malik on your behalf to take pity on Pakistan cricket and request P.C.B for ommision like Younis did.

Posted by Nadeem Mirza on (December 8, 2009, 16:02 GMT)

Mr. Abbasi: No Pak Spin for Pak Win?

Did Mohammad Yousuf passed the test of leadership? Fill us in, please.

How about Pak squad for Aus? Did Malik deserved the spot? NOT! Why Misbah wasn't sent for the 1st Test? We could have been 2-0.

BTW- Where is Yasir Hamid? Remember his last trip to Aus? Shouldn't we give chance to Taufiq Umer and Asim Kamal also? They have a pretty decent track record.

Why Afridi is not convinced to be in the longer format? I sincerely think Afridi has what it takes to be a captain and a leader in all format. Plus his test batting average is higher than everybody in the team except for magnificent M. Yousuf. Not to mention his bowling traits.

Yousuf is not doing a bad job either though. He has Inzamamic kind of effect on boys. Younis' Khan Sahib style didn't fly with the boys at all. As they say, "you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

I think this should keep you going for a while.

Posted by Irfan on (December 8, 2009, 15:38 GMT)

Just heard about Younis's ouster from the side to tour Australia. I think it is a wise decision, one that would instill confidence into Yousuf. Again the logic to keep Malik around escapes me. Our batting is vulnerable, there are not a lot of big egoes around to deal with, this is the best time to infuse new blood into the team. We have lost matches to Australia with a sleuth of super stars, loosing a few matches at the cost of gaining some new players can be enormous for Pakistan. Where youngsters the like of Umar, Aamir and Fawad are present who are ready to take on the responsibility why is Malik around? Also, I am beginning to understand and like Iqbal Qasim's principal stand on Younis and Misbah issues. It's unfortunate that Butt’s executive decision led to Misbahs inclusion but I guess Iqbal for once wanted to convey the message that no body is bigger than the game. Every body has to play by the rules and indiscipline will not be tolerated. I bid him good luck and god speed.

Posted by Mohammed Padela on (December 8, 2009, 12:37 GMT)

Younis MUST come back for the Australian series.Pakistan need experienced players.Some players like Fawad Alam must be axed and good experienced players must be picked like Yasir Hameed. Pakistan can not rely on Akmal brothers. They really need middle order to score.

Posted by Shahid on (December 7, 2009, 23:16 GMT)

Yousef is as good a captain as younis, malik or Inzi were. His decision to send Umar at 3 was a good one as I think its the batsman in form and not one with experience should take the responsibility. Younis has experience but his presence at 3 gave us handfull of defeats in recent past, only because he was not in form. Umar proved Yousef's decision to be right by tearing apart NZ bowling in scoring that madmax fifty which is good score on this wicket. Yousefs bowling changes were good and field places were quite allright too. The only factor in Pakistan not being 2-0 is dropped catches and thats nothing Yousef can do to change. He is the only player whose batting was never effected when promoted to the leadership post. Well done Yousef. I am noticing a few talented batsmen coming up the ranks. Baber in U19, and Naved Yasin are our futur prospects. Toufiq umar should be on flight to Australia as he is only opner who has average of 40 and has perfect technique.

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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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