Yusuf, the man for all seasons

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Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 10:38 [IST]
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Yusuf, the man for all seasons

The near-invincible Indian all-rounder was a notion that virtually died with the departure of Kapil Dev from international cricket. But the cult has now been revived with Yusuf Pathan as its new centre. No one since the Haryana Hurricane embodies that fighting spirit, belligerence and tenacity quite like Yusuf.

When one thinks of the Baroda cricketer's innings that have turned matches on their heads, most recently against New Zealand and South Africa, one is reminded of Kapil's 175 not out against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup. The India top-order had come a cropper at 5 down for 17, when Kapil came to the fore. His resilience and resolve shone through in that match as India rallied to beat the opponents and advance in a historic mega-event.

Yusuf is undoubtedly the modern avatar of Kapil, possessing an inherent zest for victory and a sense of intrinsic fortitude in the face of stiff adversity. Yusuf's never-say-die heroics has even shown face in the Indian Premier League (IPL), most notably in a match against Mumbai last season where chasing a 200-plus score, Yusuf bludgeoned a 37-ball century with eleven consecutive hits to the boundary.

His knock went in vain as the Indians got home by a few runs, but the odds were so heavily stacked against the Rajasthan Royals, that no one gave them a chance in hell of coming near victory. His uncanny ability of turning around matches prompted Royals' captain Shane Warne to once ask him, with the team was facing another stiff target, "Feel like creating history today?"

No wonder the Kolkata Knightriders who have been swamped in flagging fortunes ever since the IPL's inaugural season, were so eager to snatch him up at the player's auction for the fourth season. If someone can reverse their fortunes, it will have to be Yusuf. After all, he is the man for all seasons.


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