Brilliant performance in 2006 was a reward from the Almighty after my conversion to Islam: Mohammad Yousuf
In 2005, the former Pakistan batsman decided to convert to Islam and adopted the Islamic name, Mohammad Yousuf.
Updated - Mar 10, 2021 1:11 pm
Pakistan great Mohammad Yousuf has credited his spectacular performance in 2006 to his conversion to Islam a year before. He started playing in international cricket as Yousuf Youhana and was the fourth Christian after Wallis Mathias, Antao D’Souza and Duncan Sharpe to play for Pakistan. In 2004, he became the first non-Muslim player to lead Pakistan.
But in 2005, the former Pakistan batsman decided to convert to Islam and adopted the Islamic name, Mohammad Yousuf. Along with him, his wife Tania had converted too and changed her name to Fatima. Following the conversion, Yousuf enjoyed a great run in international cricket which began with a 199-ball 173-run knock against arch-rivals India.
It was followed by a memorable tour of England in 2006 and finished the year with an aggregate of 1,788 runs at a stunning average of 99.33. The stunning performance in 2006 helped him break the legendary Viv Richards’ record of most Test runs in a calendar year. He hit nine Test centuries in 2006, which is a world record for most centuries in a calendar year. In the same year, he also equaled the record held by former Australian batsman Donald Bradman, by scoring six centuries in successive Tests.
‘A reward from The Almighty’
In a recent interview to wisden.com, Mohammad Yousuf opened up on the phase in international cricket right after he converted to Islam. The former batsman started by saying that he was not forced to change his religion before stating that he was inspired by his ‘close’ friend and former teammate Saeed Anwar who turned to religion after his daughter’s death.
“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,” Mohammad Yousuf was quoted as saying by PakPassion.net.
“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,” said Yousuf.
Mohammad Yousuf on his batting performance in 2006:
He further spoke on his batting performance after his conversation. Yousuf said the performance in international cricket in 2006 was a reward for him from the Almighty. He also stated how he felt at peace with himself after involving himself in religious practices.
“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’ve 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,” said Mohammad Yousuf.