Thursday Apr 09, 2020
Former England opener Andrew Strauss has recalled how the cricketing transformation of Mohammad Yousuf following his conversion from Christianity to Islam helped him find a new perspective on the mental aspect of the game, which in turn elevated his game to a whole new level.
Strauss, in an appearance on Sky Sports Cricket podcast, revealed how worried he was at one phase in his England career. So bad was the left-handed batsman's lean patch that he had struggled for an entire year and it had come to a point where he was certain that he would be dropped if he failed again.
The former England skipper said it was then that he freed himself up from the psychological burden that the fear of failure had saddled him with, resulting in a 177-run knock that helped him retain his place in the side.
Strauss, looking back, has credited Yousuf's transformation from a decent player into an absolute run-machine for serving as an inspiration and saving his own career.
"I always like to use the example of Mohammad Yousaf. When he was Yousaf Youhana, he was averaging 40 in Test cricket. Then he became a devout Muslim and on the back of that he had this philosophy that God willing, what will happen will happen," he said.
"He had a much different outlook on life and he went from averaging 40 over the space of three years to averaging 70 in Test cricket. And that’s just based on shifting his perspective on life. He was almost trying not to be as much in control of his batting as he was previously. Just kind of accepting that the fate will have something in store for him.
"I think that was a really good illustration for me that sometimes you just have to let it all go. If I was working with a young player, this would be the philosophy I would try to embed in them."