India news February 21, 2012

Yusuf determined to reclaim India place

29

Allrounder Yusuf Pathan has recovered from a knee injury and is determined to work his way back into the Indian limited-overs team. Yusuf's only game for India since a disappointing one-day series in the West Indies was a one-off Twenty20 international against England last October; but with Baroda's Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign beginning on Wednesday, with a match against Mumbai, and the IPL in April, he has the opportunity to impress the selectors. One incentive for Yusuf to get back into the national conversation is the 2012 ICC World Twenty20, which will be played in Sri Lanka in September.

"What has happened in the past is gone," Yusuf told ESPNcricinfo. "But there is a lot to look forward to." Apart from the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy, Baroda have also qualified for the domestic Twenty20 competition's knockout stages. Then there is the IPL. "There is a lot of cricket ahead. I have managed my body well over the past two months. I am waiting for my chance."

A little over a year ago, Yusuf Pathan cemented his place in India's World Cup plans with a brutal 68-ball century against South Africa in Centurion. India, 119 for 8 at one stage, lost the game by 33 runs, but Yusuf's ability to turn a match on its head ensured that he would be part of a journey to World Cup success.

Unfortunately, that's when things started to go wrong. An average World Cup for him was followed by the poor tour of the West Indies - he managed 42 runs from four innings - and he subsequently lost his place in the side. A knee injury then kept Yusuf out of the Ranji Trophy. Now, exactly 13 months on from that hundred, the 29-year-old Yusuf finds himself back where he started

The Vijay Hazare tournament gives him the first platform to find his way back and while confident that he will be on the plane to Sri Lanka in September he does not want to get too far ahead of himself. For now, his focus is on the one-day tournament, he said. "I always think only about what's next."

One of the criticisms of Yusuf has been that he needs to adopt a more judicious approach to his batting but Yusuf said he was not going to abandon the aggressive attitude that has helped him get this far. "It is how I scored my hundreds against South Africa and New Zealand [in Bangalore]. It has been my approach since I started playing cricket."

That does not mean he isn't prepared to work on his game. He has spent the last month and a half at the National Cricket Academy ironing out any potential kinks that might have crept in ("there are always some little things that can go wrong") and has been talking to coaches and former players, such as Kiran More, about how to approach certain situations. Yet he understands that it is his ability to hit the ball a long way that makes him stand out. "I need to concentrate and play to my strengths. Whatever team I play for, be it Baroda, be it in the IPL, be it for West Zone, in tough situations my approach has been the same and I have won games for my team."

His international ambitions aside, Baroda need Yusuf to make runs too if they are going to have a chance to win the Vijay Hazare Trophy. They are a young side and it is often the case that as Yusuf goes, so does Baroda. Yusuf is not only acutely aware of this responsibility, but welcomes it. "The team depends on me. When I play well, we win one-sided games."

It is that last sentiment that he hopes to be able to express for India too.

Edited by Dustin Silgardo

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on February 23, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    Wish u all the very best Yusuf Pathan :)

  • Sano27 on February 23, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    One of my favourite players...guys like him will be an asset to any team who can change the cause of the match...team India needs his presence if he can regain his form....he's a match winner rather than Jadeja who is an average bowler & an OK batsman...!

  • Haleos on February 23, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    why do people bring religion in sports? Yusuf is an Indian. Period. not Afghan not anything else.

  • Bruisers on February 23, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    @ExplicitPlatinum - LOL. Should we try players only if they are Shahid Afridis..?? Hahaha. Yes, Yusuf is no Afridi.. But Yusuf Pathan IS 'YUSUF PATHAN'...!

  • cricketqatar on February 23, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    if india looking next all rounder for Asia cup, better option is karnataka STUART BINNY. he is a current domestic top all rounder..

  • satish619chandar on February 23, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    If at all India needs a hitter in the lineup, i would have Uthappa for Yusuf anyday.. Uthappa is more of a batsman who can hit well and can play in any position and handles the short ball far far better than Yusuf.. As of now, Gauti, Viru, Virat, Yuvi, Dhoni, Raina, Irfan, Jadeja, Ashwin, Vinay/Praveen and Zak(Or any fast bowler) should be the 11 for the T20 games.. In case India need a big hitter, they can pick Uthappa in place of Jadeja as Yuvi can shoulder the fifth bowling slot..

  • passionate_cricket_follower on February 22, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    @ExplicitPlatinum Shahid Afridi is the biggest wasted talent for Pakistan when it comes to batting. True, he can be in the team for his bowling skills alone (which he is right now!); but he could have won Pakistan far more matches with his batting than he has actually done. More so, he could played 100 tests along with his 350 odd one-dayers had he a better temperament. We don't actually want Yusuf's batting go the same way as Afridi's.

  • Unmesh_cric on February 22, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    Yusuf Pathan is one of my favourite players. He can win games single handedly. Agreed, he is a bit inconsistent. He needs to take some singles sometimes instead always going for shots. The thing I like about Yusuf is he never gives up..even if it is 200 needed from last 20 overs. I remember his inning in South Africa. He was giving hard time to the likes of Steyn and Morkel. He almost won that match single handedly when nobody would have thought there is even a remote chance. Part of the reason Yusuf hasn't done that well is the way Dhoni handles him. He always sends him in the PowerPlay. So he goes for his shots from the first ball and gets out. Good luck, Yusuf..I hope you get your India cap back.

  • Sports4Youth on February 22, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    Bad luck Yousuf. You missed the bus. Now there are too many all-rounders in India. The Spinning all-rounders being Jadega and R.Ashwin and the medium pace all-rounder Irfan Pathan (your brother) is going well in in Australi CB series.

  • on February 22, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    good if he return to National squad

  • on February 23, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    Wish u all the very best Yusuf Pathan :)

  • Sano27 on February 23, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    One of my favourite players...guys like him will be an asset to any team who can change the cause of the match...team India needs his presence if he can regain his form....he's a match winner rather than Jadeja who is an average bowler & an OK batsman...!

  • Haleos on February 23, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    why do people bring religion in sports? Yusuf is an Indian. Period. not Afghan not anything else.

  • Bruisers on February 23, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    @ExplicitPlatinum - LOL. Should we try players only if they are Shahid Afridis..?? Hahaha. Yes, Yusuf is no Afridi.. But Yusuf Pathan IS 'YUSUF PATHAN'...!

  • cricketqatar on February 23, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    if india looking next all rounder for Asia cup, better option is karnataka STUART BINNY. he is a current domestic top all rounder..

  • satish619chandar on February 23, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    If at all India needs a hitter in the lineup, i would have Uthappa for Yusuf anyday.. Uthappa is more of a batsman who can hit well and can play in any position and handles the short ball far far better than Yusuf.. As of now, Gauti, Viru, Virat, Yuvi, Dhoni, Raina, Irfan, Jadeja, Ashwin, Vinay/Praveen and Zak(Or any fast bowler) should be the 11 for the T20 games.. In case India need a big hitter, they can pick Uthappa in place of Jadeja as Yuvi can shoulder the fifth bowling slot..

  • passionate_cricket_follower on February 22, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    @ExplicitPlatinum Shahid Afridi is the biggest wasted talent for Pakistan when it comes to batting. True, he can be in the team for his bowling skills alone (which he is right now!); but he could have won Pakistan far more matches with his batting than he has actually done. More so, he could played 100 tests along with his 350 odd one-dayers had he a better temperament. We don't actually want Yusuf's batting go the same way as Afridi's.

  • Unmesh_cric on February 22, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    Yusuf Pathan is one of my favourite players. He can win games single handedly. Agreed, he is a bit inconsistent. He needs to take some singles sometimes instead always going for shots. The thing I like about Yusuf is he never gives up..even if it is 200 needed from last 20 overs. I remember his inning in South Africa. He was giving hard time to the likes of Steyn and Morkel. He almost won that match single handedly when nobody would have thought there is even a remote chance. Part of the reason Yusuf hasn't done that well is the way Dhoni handles him. He always sends him in the PowerPlay. So he goes for his shots from the first ball and gets out. Good luck, Yusuf..I hope you get your India cap back.

  • Sports4Youth on February 22, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    Bad luck Yousuf. You missed the bus. Now there are too many all-rounders in India. The Spinning all-rounders being Jadega and R.Ashwin and the medium pace all-rounder Irfan Pathan (your brother) is going well in in Australi CB series.

  • on February 22, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    good if he return to National squad

  • on February 22, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    He is a most talentd person.. Despite of poor performance , players like sehwg, raina, jadeja are gettng chances again and again. But our stupid selectors are not selecting match winner like yusuf. He shuld hv played atleadt 50-60ODIs bfore next worldcup.. Raina, sehwg, jadeja will not coorct thr mistakes even thg if thy gt 100 more chances. we need yusuf.. Both irfan and Yusf shuld be part of all tours.. DHoni should give chance to him..

  • on February 22, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    who is shahid afridi ... i think shahid afridi is not a boom boom batsman but only a fast spinner who can bat sometimes(rarely)

  • on February 22, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    i think raina needs to kicked out if that means a place for yosuf no problem . i think giving the no 7 to irfan he is suitable or maybe yusuf or jadeja at 7 and irfan at no 8 BUT JADEJA AND YUSUF BOTH ARE INCONSISTENT BUT IF YUSUF CAN IMPROVE NO BETTER THAN HIM FOR THAT POSITION

  • anver777 on February 22, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    Ind need his explosive batting in the end overs.... i think Ind is missing him in the on going CB series !!!! hope he will be back with "BANG" !!!!

  • on February 22, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    as a afghan fan,we are waiting for you came back ,and inshallah you will be select for you team soon, i seen you biggest sixes

  • syedmkr on February 22, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    We eagerly waiting for you Yusuf! we missed in Aussies where Jadeja is a complete waste of your spot. Come on grab the opportunity and establish yourself to be the destructive all-rounder ever in world cricket!

  • analyseabhishek on February 22, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    In South Africa, with Morne Morkel breathing fire in ODIs, Yusuf won a match on his own and very nearly turned another around when all was lost. It surely shows that he has the goods and even the determination. Bit of temperament and approach, things he has been working on lately, should iron out any problems that might have crept up. India would surely need his services in the T-20 WC in Srilanka- no other no 7 plays spinners better

  • on February 22, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    Yusuf is a dissappointment!

  • street_smart on February 22, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    I just don't understand how people talk about robin uthappa. A worst batsman, equally worse keeper.. & equally bad in fitness.. He only knows to score quick fire 20's or even less.... Yusuf Pathan is at least much better than uthappa.. Also handy his tight offspin & agile fielding

  • on February 22, 2012, 2:28 GMT

    Irfan pathan Yusuf pathan down the order in playing xi, Just imagine the game if the run rate goes over 10. This two brother can change the game any time.

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 22, 2012, 0:57 GMT

    For ODI and T20, Yusuf is a better batsman than 10dulkar and Sehwag. I say get rid of those 2 oldies and bring in Yusuf.

  • Masud_BITK on February 21, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    India is missing fireworks from her current player now. It looks Shwag and Tendulkar are stuggling now to make a big impact in the team, while Irfan Pathan came into the spot. India is mostly depending on MS Dhoni for some late show and he is always under pressure to do so. Jadeja failed and I see no one expcet someone line Yusuf Pathan. See yesterday's game, we had a good hope until Irfan Pathan was playing. Once he is gone, had no further hope. Yusuf would be a good pick now.

  • passionate_cricket_follower on February 21, 2012, 23:11 GMT

    try to get in the test team as well. test cricket is a cricketer's identity. if naturally aggressive people like sehwag, gayle, or warner can succeed in test cricket, there's no reason yusuf cannot do it.

  • NikhilNair on February 21, 2012, 20:39 GMT

    The kind of player who can replace Jadeja... keep at it Yosuf... we need a big hitter like u down the order. Hope to see you soon in the team :)

  • on February 21, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    Go Yusuf go. All the best. India needs you very badly.

  • vishal53 on February 21, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    Sure Yusuf may work hard to get to the Indian team level, but there should be place for him to come in. Right now the Indian team looks too full for any new comers. The old ones should make place for new ones to come in but clearly that isn't happening.

    I think a good playing XI for the World T20 later on this year in Sri Lanka, would be:

    1.) Virender Sehwag, 2.) Robin Uthappa, 3.) Virat Kohli, 4.) Suresh Raina, 5.) MS Dhoni (C&W), 6.) Yuvraj Singh, 7.) Ravindra Jadeja, 8.) Irfan Pathan, 9.) Ravichandran Ashwin, 10.) Vinay Kumar, 11.) Umesh Yadav

    On the bench: Yusuf Pathan, Sreesanth, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Sharma

  • ExplicitPlatinum on February 21, 2012, 17:17 GMT

    As a Pak fan, I recommend that India should not include Yusuf Pathan. Manoj Tiwary is rusting on your benches and he is someone India should go for. Yusuf is no Shahid Afridi so no point in trying him.

  • on February 21, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    hope he plays maturely this tym !!! rohit had enough chances now kick him out he's never gonna play maturely like how kohli and raina played today in pressure situations now its tym to move on and bring in manoj tiwary in place of rohit and yusuf pathan and jadeja shd be rotated to see who fits better !!

    jadeja is poor with the bat but has an edge on yusuf in both feilding and bowling.but in batting yusuf is miles ahead but he is inconsistent.

    rahane and mukund and tiwary shd be slowly be placed in team resting the seniors

  • Romenevans on February 21, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Yet another slogger done with bouncy short ball. Dammit where are technically correct batsmen?

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  • Romenevans on February 21, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Yet another slogger done with bouncy short ball. Dammit where are technically correct batsmen?

  • on February 21, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    hope he plays maturely this tym !!! rohit had enough chances now kick him out he's never gonna play maturely like how kohli and raina played today in pressure situations now its tym to move on and bring in manoj tiwary in place of rohit and yusuf pathan and jadeja shd be rotated to see who fits better !!

    jadeja is poor with the bat but has an edge on yusuf in both feilding and bowling.but in batting yusuf is miles ahead but he is inconsistent.

    rahane and mukund and tiwary shd be slowly be placed in team resting the seniors

  • ExplicitPlatinum on February 21, 2012, 17:17 GMT

    As a Pak fan, I recommend that India should not include Yusuf Pathan. Manoj Tiwary is rusting on your benches and he is someone India should go for. Yusuf is no Shahid Afridi so no point in trying him.

  • vishal53 on February 21, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    Sure Yusuf may work hard to get to the Indian team level, but there should be place for him to come in. Right now the Indian team looks too full for any new comers. The old ones should make place for new ones to come in but clearly that isn't happening.

    I think a good playing XI for the World T20 later on this year in Sri Lanka, would be:

    1.) Virender Sehwag, 2.) Robin Uthappa, 3.) Virat Kohli, 4.) Suresh Raina, 5.) MS Dhoni (C&W), 6.) Yuvraj Singh, 7.) Ravindra Jadeja, 8.) Irfan Pathan, 9.) Ravichandran Ashwin, 10.) Vinay Kumar, 11.) Umesh Yadav

    On the bench: Yusuf Pathan, Sreesanth, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Sharma

  • on February 21, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    Go Yusuf go. All the best. India needs you very badly.

  • NikhilNair on February 21, 2012, 20:39 GMT

    The kind of player who can replace Jadeja... keep at it Yosuf... we need a big hitter like u down the order. Hope to see you soon in the team :)

  • passionate_cricket_follower on February 21, 2012, 23:11 GMT

    try to get in the test team as well. test cricket is a cricketer's identity. if naturally aggressive people like sehwag, gayle, or warner can succeed in test cricket, there's no reason yusuf cannot do it.

  • Masud_BITK on February 21, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    India is missing fireworks from her current player now. It looks Shwag and Tendulkar are stuggling now to make a big impact in the team, while Irfan Pathan came into the spot. India is mostly depending on MS Dhoni for some late show and he is always under pressure to do so. Jadeja failed and I see no one expcet someone line Yusuf Pathan. See yesterday's game, we had a good hope until Irfan Pathan was playing. Once he is gone, had no further hope. Yusuf would be a good pick now.

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 22, 2012, 0:57 GMT

    For ODI and T20, Yusuf is a better batsman than 10dulkar and Sehwag. I say get rid of those 2 oldies and bring in Yusuf.

  • on February 22, 2012, 2:28 GMT

    Irfan pathan Yusuf pathan down the order in playing xi, Just imagine the game if the run rate goes over 10. This two brother can change the game any time.