A little over an year ago, I wrote about Mohammad Yousuf ne√© Yousuf Youhana’s conversion to Islam. In the post, I was a bit ambivalent about the symbolic force of that personal decision. A few months later, by happenstance, I ended up chatting with Yousuf over IM. He seemed geniunely excited and happy. And said that he felt a greater peace than ever before.
Well, that greater peace has enabled him to score more runs in any one calendar year in the history of cricket – at the astounding rate of 99.33 runs. Greater even than the great Viv Richards. The spin, in news stories everywhere, is that it is his faith that has enabled him this record-shattering run. God has helped me break this record, he says. Islam has helped him focus his skills and shaped the way he trains, supports his coach, Bob Wollmer.
Those who follow American football – or basketball etc. – are familiar with such stories of new-found religiosity impacting on-field performance. Kurt Warner, the rags-to-jesus quarterback for the St. Louis Rams* comes to mind. But, I cannot think of any other example from Cricket.
To my uninitiated mind, Muhammad Yousuf had a straight bat even before he found the straight path. Either way, it really is a remarkable feat and my heartiest congratulations to him.
update: dk pointed out Rob’s brilliant comment to my last post. I just re-read it and must now reproduce it here for all.