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Cricket is most widely played and followed sport in Pakistan and the prolific cricketers enjoy iconic status hence all their movements are monitored and watched with great interest.
It was only the other day when I had come to know from the most reliable of sources that Yousuf was desirous of announcing one of the most important decisions of his career at the Karachi Press Club (KPC), an institution he is believed to be holding in high esteem.
What I was not told beforehand was about the contents of the disclosure. To be honest it didn’t matter to me what exactly were his plans. Whether you like him or not, Yousuf remains one of the biggest names in Pakistan cricket, a position he cannot be denied.
I considered it as an opportunity and, after completing the formal process in the quickest possible time, extended the invitation to the celebrated cricketer who returned the compliments by accepting it very promptly.
Within a matter of minutes of our decision to invite Yousuf in the KPC Meet the Press programme on March 29, the news broke out that the former Pakistan captain was all set to announce his retirement from all forms of international cricket and he was going to make the decision public at our club.
"I have decided to quit cricket. This is not an emotional decision. I consulted my family, friends and elders before taking it," Yousuf was quoted as saying.
Well it’s not going to be first time, though, when Yousuf would be bidding farewell to Pakistan cricket, having already done it two times in the past. Initially he did so after being upset over his treatment from the selectors as well as the management and then he was provoked after being overlooked for Pakistan's World Twenty20 squad in 2007.
By the look of things, he had signed up with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) in protest but the controversies kept chasing him and he remained in the news for the wrong reasons on a number of occasions.
With the Pakistan batting flopping more often than not in the limited opportunities coming their way in the international arena there was added pressure on Ijaz Butt to expedite Yousuf’s return into the side.
That Ijaz Butt held a soft corner for Yousuf in particular or he was doing it as an exercise of damage control there was a feeling of a personal favour involved the manner in which the accomplished middle-order batsman was drafted in the team after distancing from the ICL finally.
Ijaz Butt also obliged Yousuf by elevating him to the post of captain for the important tours of New Zealand and Australia earlier this season and there was not much element of surprise in the final results.
Yousuf saw the other side of Ijaz Butt when he was among seven players penalised for various reasons after the disastrous tour. Yousuf was banned indefinitely, a decision that was equally debatable as the one of having made him the captain.
Syed Khalid Mahmood has had passion for writing and sports since childhood. After having edited wall papers and magazines in his student life, he had started contributing to various international publications from an early age.
He joined the mainstream journalism in 1987 and his first book was published later the same year. After having studied at the famed institutions like Cadet College Petaro and Delhi College, he graduated in civil engineering from the prestigious NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, in 1986.
He has earned greater fame and recognition in the field of media being acclaimed as a leading international sports writer, having worked for some of the eminent newspapers like The Frontier Post and The News International besides a brief stint with The Mississauga News. He has also appeared regularly as an analyst on various television channels.
He has already authored 12 books viz Asian Glory (2012); Reflections (2010); Cricket Fever: A History of Pakistan-India Tours (2008); Mission Caribbean: A Guide to ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (2007); World Cup 2003: Top of the Charts (2005); Spotlight on World Cup 2003 (2005); World Cup 1999: So Near Yet So Far (2000); Pakistan’s Sports Greats (1997); Pakistan: The Land of World Champions (1995); Pakistan’s Triumph in World Cup 1992 (1993); The Caribbean Challenge: A History of Pakistan-West Indies matches (1989) and Focus on World Cup (1987 and 1994).
He has had an active social life throughout. Having founded The Young Champs in 1984 he became the District Secretary of Rotary International District 3271 (Pakistan) in 2015-16. Besides being the Founder President of the NED Alumni Association, he is also the Vice President of the Delhi College & Schools Old Boys Association. He is also a member of The Petarian Association, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi Press Club, Pakistan Engineering Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
His write-ups are carried by innumerable portals and websites across the world while his exclusive articles on the web, having grown in popularity, could be accessed on his blog at www.skmsports.com
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