Former Pakistan middle-order batsman Mohammad Yousuf redefined consistency in 2006 when he took his batting performance to a whole new level. Mohammad Yousuf was in surreal form in 2006 as he mustered 1788 runs in 11 Test matches at a mind-boggling average of 99.33. In the process, he entered the record books by becoming the highest run-getter in Tests in a calendar year. Yousuf attributed his groundbreaking performance to his conversion to Islam and how it took place.
Mohammad Yousuf’s 1788 runs surpassed the former West Indian’s Viv Richards’ haul of 1710 in 11 matches that he mustered in 1976. The elegant right-handed batsman’s 1788 runs included nine centuries and three fifties with a best of 202 that came against England at the Lord’s. In all, the 46-year old featured in 90 Tests, scoring 7530 runs and 52.29 and only a few batsmen are as stylish as him.
Mohammad Yousuf revealed that his conversion to Islam was not by force and it arrived due to his closeness to fellow teammate, Saeed Anwar. The right-handed batsman highlighted that he shared an excellent bond with Saeed Anwar and seeing his parents leading a disciplined life intrigued him. Yousuf also talked about Anwar’s life before he became religious and turning to religion after the tragic death of his daughter. Yousuf believes that it was the turning point and that it ushered in the conversion of religion.
“I wasn’t forced to convert to Islam as some have alleged and tried to suggest. The reality is that I was very close to Saeed Anwar. We were great friends on and off the field and had played a lot of cricket together in our teenage years. I spent so much time with Saeed that his parents regarded me as their own son. When I was at their house, I could see the sort of peaceful and disciplined life his parents led and that really intrigued me. I had observed Saeed Anwar’s life before he became religious and how that changed when Saeed had the personal tragedy of the death of his daughter. Saeed turning to religion was an inspiration and the turning point for me that lead to my conversion to Islam,” Yousuf told PakPassion.net.
I did nothing different when it came to training or practice in 2006: Mohammad Yousuf
Talking about his brilliant performance in 2006, Mohammad Yousuf highlighted that he did nothing differently that year. The decision to convert to Islam, reading Islamic players, and then growing a beard gave him mental peace and calm, ultimately helping him face challenges confidently. The 46-year old felt that the terrific display that year was from the Almighty after converting to Islam. Yousuf stated that he never thought he would break Richards’ record; however, being mentally at peace and on the top of his game made him unstoppable.
“I did nothing different when it came to training or practice in 2006. Towards the end of 2005, I had converted to Islam and had read Islamic prayers for the first time. I then grew a beard and I felt at peace with myself, very calm and mentally ready for any challenge that came my way. I have always felt that my brilliant performance in 2006 was a reward from The Almighty after my conversion to Islam. I had never even dreamt that I would break Sir Vivian Richards’ record that year, but because I was at peace with myself and my surroundings, mentally I was at the top of my game and I felt that nothing could stop me or come in my way,” he added.