Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mohammad Yousuf

Mohammad Yousuf (Punjabi, Urdu: محمد یوسف; formerly Yousuf Youhana, یوسف یوحنا; born 27 August 1974, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan) is a Pakistani cricketer who has been a member of the Pakistani national cricket team since 1998. He is best known for his achievement in 2006 when he broke the great West Indian batsman, Sir Vivian Richards', world record for the most Test runs in a single calendar year.[1] Prior to his conversion to Islam in 2005, Yousuf was one of the few Christians to play in the Pakistan national cricket team.



[edit] Career

He made his Test debut against South Africa at Durban and ODI debut against Zimbabwe at Harare. He has scored over 9,000 ODI runs at an average of 43.63 (2nd highest batting average among Pakistani batsmen after Zaheer Abbas) and 6,770 Test runs at an average of 55.49 (highest batting average amongst all Pakistani batsmen) with 23 Test centuries. He has the record of scoring the most runs without being dismissed in ODIs, 405 against Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe in 2002-03. He has also scored a 23-ball fifty in ODIs, and a 68-ball hundred. In Tests he has scored a 27-ball fifty, which is 3rd fastest by any player. He was top scorer during the successive years of 2002 and 2003 in the world in ODIs. In 2004, he scored a memorable 111 against the Australians in the Boxing Day Test. In December 2005, he scored 223 against England at Lahore, also earning him the man of the match award. Seven months later in July 2006, when Pakistan toured England, he scored 202 and 48 in the first Test, again earning himself the man of the match award. He followed up with 192 in the third Test at Headingley and 128 in the final Test at the Oval.

Yousuf was named CNN-IBN’s Cricketer of the Year for 2006, ahead of the likes of Australian captain Ricky Ponting, West Indies Brian Lara, Australian spinner Shane Warne, South Africa’s bowling spearhead Makhaya Ntini and Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan. He was selected as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in the 2007 edition.[2] Yousuf became the fourth recipient of the ICC 'Test Cricketer of the Year' award for 2007, he scored 944 runs at an average of 94.40 including five centuries and two fifties in just 10 innings and that was enough to be awarded the honour ahead of Kevin Pietersen and Ricky Ponting. Yousuf was also named in the 2007 Test team of the Year alongside compatriot Mohammad Asif.[3]

A year that started on a promising note, Yousuf carried it forward to break two world records both held earlier by West Indian great Sir Vivian Richards. The 32-year-old smashed an unparalleled 1788 runs in just 11 Test matches with the help of nine centuries – his second record – taking him beyond the Windies great yet again. Yousuf is known for his ability to score runs at exceptional rate through his great technique and composed strokeplay. Although capable of hitting the ball hard, Yousuf is quick between the wickets, although he is prone to being run out.[1]

Yousuf is a skillful infielder, with a report prepared by Cricinfo in late 2005 showing that since the 1999 Cricket World Cup, he had effected the ninth highest number of run-outs in ODI cricket of any fieldsman.[4] He is also distinguished by his characteristic celebration after hitting one hundred runs for his country, where he prostrates in thankfulness to Allah in the direction of Mecca. He has observed this act (known as the Sajdah) recently since his conversion to Islam.[5][6]

On 11 August 2007 it was reported by The Dawn that Yousuf may join the Indian Cricket League and by joining the league he wouldn't be able to play many matches for the Pakistan team.[7] However on September 27, he changed his mind and signed a contract with the PCB, but nonetheless he missed the series against South Africa. He has been selected for the India tour in November 2007. In October 2007, Yousuf joined the Indian Premier League just few days after cancelling his contract with Indian Cricket League[8] He was not signed by any IPL franchise as a result of his on-going court case with the ICL.

Yousuf informed the PCB that he would not be taking part in the Champions Trophy 2008 because it would coincide with the holy month of Ramadan.[9]

Yousuf re-signed with ICL in November 2008. He was banned by PCB on 5/11/2008 for joining ICL.

Yousuf ended his association with the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL) in early May, in the hope of earning a recall for his country. Pakistan have recalled batsman Mohammad Yousuf to the squad for their 2009 Test series in Sri Lanka. [10]

He along with another ex-ICL player Abdul Razzaq had been awarded ‘A’ category mid-term central contracts by the Pakistan Cricket Board after he leaving the ICL.[11]

[edit] Statistics

[edit] Career highlights

An innings-by-innings breakdown of Yousuf's Test match batting career, showing runs scored (red bars) and the average of the last ten innings (blue line).
  • In November 2006, Yousuf achieved the 10th highest ever figure in ICC's test batting rating. His rating of 933 gave him a personal best of 2nd place in the rankings behind Ricky Ponting and was the 3rd highest ranking of any current player as well as the highest for any batsmen from the sub-continent.[12][13][14]
  • With his twin hundreds in the Karachi test against West Indies 2006, Mohammad Yousuf became the sixth Pakistani and 30th cricketer in test cricket to hit a century in each innings of a test match.[17]
  • His Test average of 56.00 currently puts him in 10th spot for Test batting averages for players with more than 50 appearances.[20]
  • He has scored a century at International level against all Test playing nations. Currently Sri Lanka is the only Test playing venue in which he has failed to score a century.[21][22]

The following tables illustrate a summary of the Test and ODI centuries scored by Mohammad Yousuf.[23][24]

  • In the column Runs, * indicates being not out.
  • The column title Match refers to the Match Number of his career.

[edit] Test centuries

Test Centuries of Mohammad Yousuf
# Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Year
[1] 120* 7 Zimbabwe Lahore, Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium 1998
[2] 115 20 West Indies Bridgetown, Barbados Kensington Oval 2000
[3] 103* 21 West Indies St John's, Antigua Antigua Recreation Ground 2000
[4] 124 25 England Lahore, Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium 2000
[5] 117 27 England Karachi, Pakistan National Stadium 2000
[6] 203 29 New Zealand Christchurch, New Zealand Jade Stadium 2001
[7] 102* 33 Bangladesh Multan, Pakistan Multan Cricket Stadium 2001
[8] 204* 35 Bangladesh Chittagong, Bangladesh Chittagong Stadium 2002
[9] 146 36 West Indies Sharjah,United Arab Emirates Sharjah Stadium 2002
[10] 159 41 Zimbabwe Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Queens Sports Club 2002
[11] 112 49 India Multan, Pakistan Multan Cricket Stadium 2004
[12] 111 55 Australia Melbourne, Australia Melbourne Cricket Ground 2004
[13] 104 58 India Kolkata, India Eden Gardens 2005
[14] 223 62 England Lahore, Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium 2005
[15] 173 63 India Lahore, Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium 2006
[16] 126 64 India Faislabad, Pakistan Iqbal Stadium 2006
[17] 202 67 England London, England Lord's Cricket Ground 2006
[18] 192 69 England Leeds, England Headingley Carnegie Stadium 2006
[19] 128 70 England London, England The BRIT Oval Cricket Ground 2006
[20] 192 71 West Indies Lahore, Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium 2006
[21] 191 72 West Indies Multan, Pakistan Multan Cricket Stadium 2006
[22] 102 73 West Indies Karachi, Pakistan National Stadium 2006
[23] 124 73 West Indies Karachi, Pakistan National Stadium 2006

[edit] One Day International centuries

ODI Centuries of Mohammad Yousuf
# Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Year
[1] 100 10 Australia Lahore, Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium 1998
[2] 104* 26 West Indies Toronto, Canada Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club 1999
[3] 100* 59 India Dhaka, Bangladesh Bangabandhu Stadium 2000
[4] 112* 91 Bangladesh Dhaka, Bangladesh Bangabandhu Stadium 2002
[5] 129 100 Sri Lanka Sharjah, United Arab Emirates Sharjah Stadium 2002
[6] 125 101 New Zealand Karachi, Pakistan National Stadium 2002
[7] 141* 112 Zimbabwe Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Queens Sports Club 2002
[8] 100* 114 Zimbabwe Harare, Zimbabwe Harare Sports Club 2002
[9] 106 141 Bangladesh Faislabad,Pakistan Iqbal Cricket Stadium 2003
[10] 107* 178 Sri Lanka Karachi, Pakistan National Stadium 2004
[11] 105 188 West Indies Perth, Australia WACA Ground (The WACA) 2005
[12] 101* 230 South Africa Durban, South Africa Sahara Stadium Kingsmead 2007
[13] 117 244 South Africa Lahore, Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium 2007
[14] 108* 256 Zimbabwe Faisalabad, Pakistan Iqbal Stadium 2008
[15] 108* 258 Bangladesh Lahore, Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium 2008

[edit] Records

[edit] Test records in 2006

Statistically, the year 2006 is said to be the year of Australia, Murali and Mohammad Yousuf. Yousuf scored 1788 runs at an average of 99.33 in 2006, and broke two of Sir Vivian Richards's 30-year old records.[25]

It's excellent and slightly unbelievable what he has achieved. Nine hundreds in a year and that many runs is just magnificent. He is a very committed player and an excellent role model, not just for Pakistan but for young cricketers everywhere.

— Former West Indies batsman Brian Lara on Yousuf's achievements.[26]

  • On 2006-11-30, during the third innings of the final Test between Pakistan and West Indies at Karachi, he surpassed Sir Viv Richards's thirty year old record and became the highest scorer in Test matches during a single calendar year.[26] He also broke Zaheer Abbas's record for the most runs made by a Pakistani batsman in a three-Test series. Abbas made 583 runs against the visiting Indians in 1978/79.[27]
  • Yousuf hit nine centuries in 2006, which is a world record for most centuries in a calendar year.[25]
  • Yousuf also equalled Australian great Sir Donald Bradman's record of scoring six centuries in successive Tests - although it took him only five matches compared with Bradman's six.[28]
  • After his 191 at Multan he became the first player in Test history to have been dismissed 3 times in the 190s, with all three innings coming in 2006.[29][30]

[edit] Early days

Yousuf hailed from a poor background, was plucked from the obscurity of a tailor's shop in the slums of the eastern city of Lahore to play a local match in the mid-1990s. His well-crafted shots attracted attention and he rose through the ranks to become the backbone of Pakistan's batting line-up.

[edit] Conversion To Islam

Yousuf was one of a handful of Christians to feature in the Pakistan cricket team until his conversion to Islam in 2005.[1] He had embraced Islam after attending regular preaching sessions of the Tablighi Jamaat, Pakistan's largest non-political religious grouping, whose preachers include Yousuf's former team-mate Saeed Anwar and his brother. His wife Tania converted along with him and adopted the Islamic name Fatima. However the news was kept private for three months due to family reasons, before his announcement of their conversion publicly in September 2005.[31] "I don't want to give Yousuf my name after what he has done," his mother was quoted as saying by the Daily Times newspaper. "We came to know about his decision when he offered Friday Prayers at a local mosque. It was a shock," his mother was reported as saying. However, Yousuf told the BBC that "I cannot tell you what a great feeling it is."[32] As part of his conversion, Yousuf officially changed his name from Yousuf Youhana to Mohammad Yousuf.

Former Pakistan cricketer and noted commentator Rameez Raja acknowledged the significance of Yousuf's new faith, "Religion has played an integral part in his growth not just as a cricketer but as a person."[26]

[edit] Controversy

[edit] ICL

In 2007, after initially signing a contract to join the Indian Cricket League, Yousef later refused due to pressure from the PCB as he would later face a ban by the board. In return the PCB promised to get him into the Indian premier league, however, no team bid for him as he faced litigation from the ICL.[33]

In 2008, he once again threatened to join the ICL after the PCB dropped him from their squad. A PCB official was quoted as saying, "We have banned all our cricketers who joined the ICL and if Yousuf also plays for the unauthorised league then he will have to face the same punishment. Yousuf is still our best Test batsman and has a future with the Pakistan team, but not if he joins the ICL. It will be game over for him if he joined the rebel league."[34] Yousuf decided to join the ICL again to play mid-way though the second season.[35] The Pakistan Cricket Board reacted to the news by banning Mohammad Yousuf from the national team after he rejoined the ICL.[36] Yousaf's chances to return to Pakistani cricket improved on February 2, 2009 when a Pakistani court suspended the ban on ICL players.[37]

Pakistan have recalled batsman Mohammad Yousuf to the squad for their July 2009 Test series in Sri Lanka. Yousuf ended his association with the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL) in early May, in the hope of earning a recall for his country. His decision to join the ICL was made because of differences with former captain Shoaib Malik, who has since been replaced by Younus Khan. [38]

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