Mohammad Yousuf, famous for his stylish batsmanship, on Tuesday fired verbal volleys on Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik, saying that his attitude was one of the reasons for him joining the Indian Cricket League.
Reacting to Malik's charge that Yousuf was not keen on playing for the country and that he was just making excuses for not doing so, the bearded batsman said, "Why would I give an excuse. People who don't perform give excuses, whereas I have been performing throughout my career. First he should look at his own performance and then level allegations against others."
Asked if Malik's attitude towards the senior players was one of the reasons for him joining the ICL, he said, "You can say that. In fact, there is no doubt about that. After all one's country comes first, but if your skipper does not want you to be there then what's the point in playing for the team.
"If you look at my records, you will notice that I am the best player in Pakistan. Be it the one-dayers or Tests, my performance is better than the rest. So, it's not I, who is giving excuses, it's him. All the time he keeps saying the team has not been selected according to his wishes, I think that is an excuse."
Citing Sachin Tendulkar's example, he said, "You just can't make him sit out; after all he is a performer. If he wishes not to play in a T20 game, it's his prerogative. Tomorrow if he is dropped from the side, the media will create a big hue and cry. Similarly, I too enjoy that status in Pakistan. I am a top player there and my records are a proof of that. People who question my integrity should first see their own records."
He even questioned Malik's captainship saying, "A captain is always a performer and that is the case in all cricket-playing nations. Here M.S. Dhoni was made the skipper after he performed consistently for three years. Even now, he performs and leads the team from the front when the situation arises. "You will find that under his (Malik's) captaincy the team has lost badly. Pakistan played two good series under his leadership and lost both. First was against South Africa where we lost in the Tests and ODIs and then we lost against India."
Elaborating further, he said, "This despite the fact that last year (Nov-Dec 2007) the team that toured India was much better than the team that toured in 2005. But in 2005, we drew the Test series and won the ODIs as then the skipper had stood up for us. He (Inzamam-ul-Haq) not only performed himself but also encouraged the team to perform. "Captaincy is a pressure game and not everyone can be a good captain," he added.
On the current ICL season, Yousuf said, "I think my performance has been okay. But T20 is a game where middle overs are crucial and yesterday we lost the game as our wickets fell quickly in those overs."
He was even surprised at the exclusion of Abdul Razzaq from Pakistan's T20 squad for the World Championships in South Africa. "That decision came as a shock to me." On the change of stance within the PCB with regard to the ICL, he said, "I too read in the papers that the PCB is changing its hard-line stand and has developed a soft corner for ICL."