Middle order March 29, 2010

Yousuf, wait a while

He may have performed below his usual high standards

Mohammad Yousuf had another two years of productive Test cricket left in him © Getty Images

The purge of Pakistan's cricketers has claimed an unexpected victim. Mohammad Yousuf may have captained the team poorly in the recent series in Australia and New Zealand. He may have performed below his usual high standards. He may have fallen foul of his fellows and the cricket board. But there were still Test runs in his cricket bat.

It is a dreadful situation that Pakistan's most exquisite Test batsman feels compelled to retire from the game that made him. Pakistan cricket still needs its MoYo, especially with a testing summer of cricket in England to come. Without him, and perhaps Younis Khan, Pakistan's middle order will be a horror show.

Yousuf could have stuck it out, fought the ban, but why should he? The PCB's mismanagement has wrought this outcome. Yousuf was elevated to a captaincy that was beyond him - he didn't appoint himself captain. Indeed, if the PCB was unhappy with his behaviour it should not have rewarded him with the captaincy.

When the poor fellow was clearly out his depth, in the middle, in the media, and in private, the PCB did little to support, guide, or gag him. The final insult was announcing the end of his captaincy before the Australia tour had ended.

To punish him now--along with Younis Khan--is an absolute nonsense and national disgrace. I can understand his decision to quit this world of injustice. Yousuf may not have been the easiest fellow to command or control but such is the way of talent. How many great players have been infuriating personalities?

Once more, the PCB has failed Pakistan cricket and the Pakistani people. That's what you get when people are promoted beyond their capabilities.

In Pakistan cricket, as we all know, a retirement isn't necessarily the final act. Yousuf surely has at least a couple of years of productive Test cricket left in him. I hope he can be persuaded to wait a while. Pakistan cricket still needs his lofty elegance.

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