Quibblers will point to the dozen-plus dropped catches. Statisticians will point to the long odds. But for Yusuf Pathan, his unbeaten 210 that set up West Zone's barnstorming chase of 536 in the final against South, nothing will matter.
Dropped from the Indian team, Yusuf has sent a chilling reminder of what he's capable of and etched his name in history.
When the final day began, West still needed 157 and South would have believed only Yusuf stood between them and victory. The tone was set when Yusuf launched the first ball of the day over the off side for a boundary.
Yusuf pressed on as Pinal Shah was kept quiet. Cuts, pulls, short-arm, jabs, flicks — the range of strokes were on display, and as always, there were no half measures.
“We told him to play his natural game. No matter what you say he is going to play his game, so it's pointless to tell him to curb his strokeplay,” said West skipper Wasim Jaffer after his team sealed a tense three-wicket win. “His natural game is to attack and he played his game and won us the match.”
Yusuf's unbeaten 210 came at a personal cost, for severe cramps forced him to employ a runner midway through his innings. Yusuf made things look easy with his breezy hitting, but the effort was special.
“No pain no gain. You can't achieve anything in life without pain,” said Yusuf. “When you play through the pain barrier, you get another opportunity. My only thought was to carry on because I was set. If a new batsman had come to the crease at that stage, the game could have gone either way.”
While this knock is sure to grab headlines and more than a casual look from the selectors, Yusuf chose to be philosophical.
“My job is to keep performing. I'm very happy that I played a part in a team that registered a world-record victory,” said Yusuf. “Insha Allah, I'll get an opportunity (to play for India again).”