As a batsman,
Youhana is still the same Yousuf!
Rashid Latif Former
Pakistan cricket captain
So the Lordís Test was drawn and Pakistan had Mohammad Yousufís batting to
thank for that. Without his wonderful double century in the first innings,
they would probably have had to follow on and then might have lost the
But, in my opinion, itís rubbish that he has suddenly become a better player
since converting from Christianity to Islam. Cricket is about cricket, not
religion, and as a batsman he is still the same Yousuf as he was before.
He loves getting big scores, has a brilliant record against India and
England, and when pitches are flat and bowlers are struggling to make things
happen he comes into his own.
Now itís time to think about next weekís second Test and if I was selecting
the Pakistan team I would have Shahid Afridi opening the batting.
My thinking is that Pakistan would be better off with one right-handed
batsman and one left-handed batsman at the top of the order, rather than the
two lefties they had at Lordís.
Afridi is dangerous because at the start of an innings all the fielders are
in the slips and the covers and he can hit the new ball hard like the Indian
opener Virender Sehwag.
His partner would be one of the two left-handers we saw at Lordís ó Salman
Butt or Imran Farhat, whichever one is more confident ó and then the
fit-again Younis Khan would play at three.
Four (Yousuf) and five (Inzamam) stay the same, with Faisal Iqbal (number
three at Lordís) dropping down to six.
As for England, I cannot really understand why they donít have more grass on
the wickets for the Test matches.
On a flat track Pakistan are very dangerous. They can score big runs and
then utilise reverse swing and spin ó thatís why they are thinking of adding
another spinner, Mushtaq Ahmed, to the side.
England should go for a green track ó not like a garden, but one that is a
bit lively for the first two days. If the team batting first hits 500 or 600
in the first innings, the match will quite often end in a draw.
But if itís 300 then itís much more likely there will be a result. Pakistan
have had problems in green conditions in the past, and with no Shoaib Akhtar
they wouldnít have their best bowler to exploit the situation.
On the other hand, Mushtaq and Danish Kaneria on a flat or turning wicket
would give Pakistan a good chance of winning the series.
They would also have a third leg-spinner, Afridi, available to bowl some
overs at the end of each session, and England could struggle.
I certainly hope the Pakistan fielding improves at Old Trafford. The dropped
catches at Lordís were inexcusable.
Pakistan and Indian players have always been more concerned with batting and
bowling and thatís why we have had problems with fielding in the past.
But you certainly cannot blame the background at Lordís ó Iíve played there
twice before ó or the pressure of the big occasion. You have to perform your
best for your country.