Mohammad Yousuf Biography
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Until his conversion to Islam in 2005, Mohammad Yousuf (formely known as Yousuf Youhana) was one of a handful of Christians to play for Pakistan. After a difficult debut against South Africa in 1997-98, he quickly established himself as a stylish world-class batsman, and a pillar of Pakistan's middle order, alongside Inzamam-ul-Haq. He is no sluggard, but gathers his runs through orthodox, composed strokeplay, unlike some of his colleagues who seldom hint at permanence. He is particularly strong driving through the covers and flicking wristily off his legs and brings with him as decadent and delicious a backlift as any in the game. A tendency to overbalance when playing across his front leg can get him into trouble. He excels at both versions of the game, and in one-day cricket can score 20 or 30 runs before anyone notices. He is quick between the wickets although not necessarily the best judge of a single. There had been questions about his temperament as batsman when the pressure is on, but between 2004 and 2005, he began to silence critics. First came a spellbindingly languid century against the Australians in Melbourne, as captain to boot, where he ripped into Shane Warne like few Pakistani batsmen have before or since. A century in the cauldron of Kolkatta followed but he ended the year with possibly his most important knock: a double century against England at Lahore so easy on the eye, you almost didn't notice it. With Inzamam missing through injury for parts of the innings, Yousuf displayed an unusual responsibility, eschewing the waftiness that has previously blighted him. In 2006, Yousuf truly came of age in a record-breaking year. He began by plundering India and continued in England, not just scoring under pressure, but scoring big. A double ton at Lord's was followed by another big hundred at Headingly and the Oval. He rounded off a fantastic year with four hundreds in three Tests against the West Indies, a feat that took him past Viv Richards's long-standing record of most Test runs in a calendar year and also saw him establish the record for most Test hundreds (9) in a year. With Inzamam nearing a natural end, the credentials of Yousuf as Pakistan's premier batsman are impressive.