Cricket Legend Mohammad Yousuf Joins Helping Hand to Raise Funds for Thar
By Siraj Khan

On June 15 th, Helping Hand USA organized a banquet dinner to benefit the emergency relief efforts for the severe drought in the Thar area, Sindh. Pakistan Test cricketer Mohammad Yousuf joined HHRD in this noble initiative and the vibrant crowd present also ended up paying tribute to one of Pakistan’s greatest cricket heroes, who is equally popular on both sides of the border.

The event, held at the Elks Lodge in Natick MA, was jointly sponsored by HHRD, Massachusetts State Cricket League and Pakistan Association of Greater Boston with India New England News as Media Partners and co-sponsorship of Boston Desi Connection and The Foundations TV. Humayun Kabeer reported HHRD’s relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Siraj Khan highlighted Yousuf’s accomplishments as part of the introduction, prior to the interview.

  • Tests 7530 runs Highest Score 223 Ave 52.29 24 x 100s 33 x 50s
  • ODIs 9720 runs Highest Score 141 Ave 41.71 15 x 100s 64 x 50s
  • Cricketer of the Year 2006 (ahead of Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and Shane Warne)
  • ICC Test Cricketer of the Year 2007 and Wisden Cricketer of the Year 2007
  • President's Pride of Performance 2012
  • Most runs in Tests in a calendar year / 2006 - 1788 runs in 10 Tests / 19 innings Av 99.88

(Broke Viv Richard's record of 1710 runs with 7 centuries in a calendar year in 1976)

The above world record included 9 centuries, 6 of them consecutive. Another world record.

(6 consecutive centuries equaled Bradman’s but Yousuf did it in only 5 matches to The Don's 6)

  • Century at international level against all Test playing nations and also at their own shores
  • Most runs in a 3 Test series (West Indies) 5 innings 665 runs Ave 133.00
  • Achieved ICC Test batting ranking of 933. (Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Miandad are all lower rankings)
  • In 2002 and 2003, was top ODI scorer in the world.
  • 405 ODI runs without getting out. Was finally out in the last match. Zimbabwe in 2007.
  • Fastest in ODI: 23 ball 50, 68 ball 100. Fastest in Tests: Third fastest in history.. 50 in 27 balls.

SK - Do you remember your first cricket bat? I am sure that our guests would be very interested to know.

MY - We lived near a railway station. As a boy, I couldn't afford a bat and so I negotiated my brother's taped tennis ball bowling with wooden planks of various dimensions on surfaces which were not even proper roads. The sound of the trains going by was always in the background.

SK – Share with us please, your younger days and interest in cricket.

MY - As a 12-year-old, I was spotted by Golden Gymkhana, though even then only circumstances dictated my ambitions and I never thought I would ever play cricket to make a living. I joined Lahore's Forman Christian College and continued playing until giving up cricket in early 1994. (So I thought).

SK- You have even driven a rickshaw for a while and worked at a tailor's shop. Is there something interesting you would to share from those days of humble beginnings?

MY - Yes, for a time I even tried my luck driving a rickshaw. That was in Bhawalpur. I was then plucked from obscurity of a tailor's shop in Lahore to play a local match. I guess somebody thought I did good.

SK - Please tell us about your most memorable innings and how it influenced the match.

MY - Some defeats are sweeter than victories. Although my highest Test score is 223 at Lahore vs. England which we also won, my 202 at Lords in July 2006 is most memorable to me. I survived some real hostile bowling and was the last man out at 445. From 80 for 4, we managed to draw the match.

SK - Who is your most admired batsman and bowler you have played with or against?

MY - Easily, Brian Lara and Wasim Akram. Not much to think on that one.

SK. Have you ever completed a century with a 6? How many times?

MY - Several times but only once in Tests. After doing it, I was surprised myself.

SK – How many double centuries have you scored in Tests?

MY - Four but I did get out thrice in the 190s too – bad luck, but that too is a record I am told. I saw Yunus Khan getting run out at 199 and what can anyone say for Martin Crowe’s dismissal at 299. That’s cricket after all.

SK – Speaking of fielding and run-outs, what do you have to say on the fact that you are the 7th in the world in ODIs, for running out most batsmen of the opposing team?

MY - (Smiles) I was not even aware of that. I have never been considered the best of fielders, but yes nishaana and throwing theek thaak hai. That always helps.

SK - We do not know much about your bowling.

MY – I hardly ever bowled but I do have story here. I was surprised once when the captain tossed the ball to me in an ODI match. Bowled two overs and claimed a wicket without giving any run. Can't remember the unfortunate batsman but he was a tail-ender. I never bowled again. (More smiles).

SK - What is the best compliment that you received which you will probably never forget?

To me it was Brian Lara's congratulating remarks..."It's excellent and slightly unbelievable what Yousuf has achieved. 9 centuries and that many runs in a year is just magnificent. He is a very committed player and an excellent role model, not just for Pakistan but for young cricketers everywhere in the world.

MY - There have been many more by the Grace of Allah, specially by cricket commentators and writers, but that one coming from a world class player and my favorite batsman, is the one I truly cherish.

SK . What message would you like to leave with the young guests here many who play cricket?

MY - Whatever you want to do, do it consistently if you need to get anywhere. I am still looking for a godfather in Pakistan. Performance of any type does not go unnoticed for too long. But you need luck too.

A lively Q & A session followed after which a plaque was presented to the guest by Manas Sahu, President of MSCL. Local players took pictures with their cricket hero and bats were autographed. All these efforts collectively helped raise funds for the Thar drought. The delicious dinner was through courtesy of Café India.



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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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