The first was that he was the big brother of Irfan Pathan, whose disappearance from the Indian set-up is still a mystery to us at the Reverse Sweep.
The second was when Shane Warne amusingly described Yusuf’s 37-ball hundred against the Mumbai Indians as the best innings he’d ever seen – no more evidence of the ridiculous hyperbole that comes with the IPL is needed than that. Given that he had been in the field when Laxman made his infamous 281 at Kolkata this was perhaps the best example of Warney talking utter nonsense.
Finally, we knew Yusuf as the man that visibly shrunk when he pulled on an Indian jersey. Whether it was bowling pies, dropping catches or getting out cheaply, Yusuf was your man. Indeed, a particularly fleet-footed ant had more chance of making the earth shake than the seemingly impotent Yusuf.
Not now though. After two brutal ODI hundreds from Yusuf in the space of a few months, it would seem that he could be the final ingredient in India’s pursuit of the World Cup.
Both hundreds registered at least 9.0 on the Richter Scale and each came when India were in seemingly impossible situations. His 123 not out off only 96 balls led his side to an unlikely win against New Zealand in December.
And whilst his 105 in the deciding ODI against South Africa couldn’t quite retrieve a victory for India, it was a truly memorable innings with Yusuf unleashing a blitzkrieg of boundaries in moving from 66 to 101 in just 10 balls. It certainly shook South Africa to its foundations.
He hit 15 monstrous sixes across the two innings and with home advantage and the likes of Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir to come back into the side, it would be a brave man that would bet against Dhoni lifting the World Cup once the elongated tournament reaches its conclusion sometime in 2012. If they do, it would seem that Yusuf will have a big say.
Check out all our Reverse Sweep heroes and zeroes including amongst others MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh and Shoaib Malik
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