That’s a serious question. We’ve genuinely forgotten where we’re up to.
He was banned for life, but then unbanned, but he’s still not playing for Pakistan. He’s playing for Warwickshire at the moment, we believe he’s got a spell booked in the Birmingham leagues after that and then at some point he’s playing first-class cricket in Bangladesh.
We only ask because while the Pakistan players who don’t bowl (the word ‘batsmen’ seems generous) were struggling in a low-scoring match against the West Indies, Mohammad Yousuf was defying a dangerous pitch at Edgbaston to score 109 and 68. The next highest score in all four innings was 58 and three of Worcestershire’s players either retired hurt or were absent hurt in their second innings.
So Pakistan could clearly do with Yousuf’s beardsome batsmanship. We can only conclude that there is an ‘issue’. Did we miss one of his retirements? It’s really, really hard to keep up.
It can’t still be as a result of the Australia tour for which he was given a life ban. That was over a year ago. An actual one-year ban is a great deal longer than a life ban in Pakistani cricket.
But he seems okay. It reminds us of the immortal tagline of the entertainingly ludicrous Crank: High Voltage – “He was dead… but he got better.”
You can ban Mohammad Yousuf for life and he can retire, but it doesn’t matter, he’ll still be there scoring runs in a Test match.
Poor Salman Butt. That’s all we can think about.
He’s trying to organise a nice tea party, even though the crockery’s jagged and serrated and keeps cutting people’s hands. The teapot’s got a hole in it and it’s dribbling boiling water over everyone.
Yet Butt’s holding it all together. He’s making do, even though every time he offers someone sugar, it’s fraught with danger. There’s blood everywhere, but no-one’s died. It’s fragile, but they’re getting by.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, someone drops a live grenade onto the table and tells him to use it as a saucer.
If you want to know how to retire from cricket. Look to Pakistan. Look to Mohammad Yousuf, who’s executed a textbook Pakistan cricket retirement.
“This is my retirement. I have retired from international cricket.”
He then added:
“For now, this is it. For now this is my retirement.”
That’s how to do it. That’s how to retire.
Many great players bow out to a chorus of wailing from the fans. No-one likes emotion. Far better to retire in equivocal fashion, leaving the door open for a possible or probable return.
Either Mohammad Yousuf comes back (hurrah!) or one day in a couple of years time, we notice that he hasn’t actually come back, in which case we’ll feel all right about it because we’ve pretty much forgotten about him.
Even by Pakistan’s standards this must be some kind of a record.
After claiming to be on very firm ground with the punishments they’d doled out, the Pakistan Cricket Board has now said that actually what may have sounded like a life ban was no such thing. Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan are actually eligible for selection “as and when the PCB deems appropriate” – which will hopefully be in time for their next match.
Maybe they never meant it. Maybe they were misunderstood. Maybe their new coach, Waqar Younis, has thrown a fit. Maybe it’s all a big post-modern joke at the media’s expense.
Whatever it is, Rana Naved still doesn’t know what he’s done to get banned for a year.
Banning Pakistan cricketers for in-fighting? It’s like firing a computer programmer for being interested in Star Wars. Some things just come with the territory.
With Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan banned for life, there’s every chance that one of them might not play in the Test series against Australia this summer, which would be disappointing because they’re far and away Pakistan’s best batsmen. The wording is that they ‘should not be part of the national team’ though, which almost implies that they could be – unless it’s a would/will type thing again.
It seems to be a massive overreaction, but the feeling in Pakistan is that it is drawing a line under player indiscipline. It’s basically saying to the players:
“You’re all being complete dicks almost all of the time. You have to stop. This is what acting like a dick gets you, so don’t do it. If everyone’s being a dick all the time, that’s more damaging than losing all our senior players. That’s how serious being a dick is. Okay? Now belt up and play some cricket.”
That’s how we’re reading it anyway.
Despite the fact that there are still a few matches to go on the tour of Australia, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Ijaz Butt, has already confirmed that Mohammad Yousuf will not be captain when it finishes.
Having to do a job when you already know you’re being made redundant is bloody awful. It feels like digging your own grave. Unlike when it happened to us though, Yousuf probably won’t find that his job is being outsourced. You can’t really outsource the Pakistan captaincy.
He won’t suffer another insult which we endured either: having to shave because you’ve got to go to job interviews.
Hopefully the PCB will be generous in turning a blind eye if he steals a load of carboard boxes and batteries as well. You’ve got to get something out of the last few weeks when you’re basically just going through the motions.
Well this is a steaming pile of brown stuff. Mohammad Yousuf is probably one of the top Test batsmen in the world and Pakistan have a policy of banning ICL players from the national side.
That said, the way the Pakistan Cricket Board found out is quite amusing. They phoned his house and asked to speak to him. His wife said he was out. The PCB asked where he was. She said he’d just left for India to play in the ICL.