Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mohammad Yousuf's Incredible Feat

Last weekend, I partook in a heated discussion about who the best batsman in the world is, based on current form. Most people, rather predictably, supported Ricky Ponting or Brian Lara. I however cast my vote for Mohammad Yousuf (formerly Yousuf Youhana). To vindicate my stance (and clearly for no other reason), Yousuf has gone ahead and broken Vivian Richard's 30-year old record for most runs scored in a calendar year. In the process, he has also scored more centuries than anyone else in a given year.

Despite the fact that he plays in a veritable age of batsmen, and that pitches in Pakistan have been getting increasingly deader by the season[1], Yousuf's feat must be hailed for what it is - a phenomenal streak of consistently good batting. Moreover, by scoring 1788 runs at an astounding average of 99.33, he has indisputably proven the importance of facial hair in cricket. I have no doubt that Bradman would have been a far more prolific batsman had he had a beard to match Yousuf's. Or Rikki Clarke for that matter.

Impressive though it might be, I don't think Yousuf's record is going to last as long as its predecessor. Why, this year itself Ponting's got 1058 runs in six tests, with three more to play in December. While it is unlikely that he'll overtake Yousuf, he has a realistic chance to equal the record of nine centuries in the year. For England's sake, and for the sake of bearded men worldwide, let's hope he doesn't get there.

[1] Yes, there are degrees of deadness. A dodo, for instance is deader than an auk.


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