Pakistan vice-captain Mohammed Yousuf Monday said his performance level has gone up after he embraced Islam last year.
‘I have benefited a lot after I converted to Islam. I have more peace in my mind now and that has helped me to improve my performance,’ Yousuf, here for the Champions Trophy, told reporters at an open media session here.
Until he embraced Islam in 2005, Yousuf Youhana was a Christian and was one of the rare non-Muslims to play for Pakistan.
Asked whether uncertainty over captaincy has affected him, he said: ‘What has happened in the past is over. We have come here to play cricket and I don’t think it will affect the team’s performance.’
Yousuf was made the captain after Younis Khan announced he wouldn’t lead the side for the Champions Trophy over an undisclosed issue.
But after Naseem Ahsraf took over from Shahrayar Khan as the new Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, Younis was reinstated as captain and Yousuf his deputy.
About leading the Pakistan team in the future, Yousuf said: ‘I have never thought about it but if God wants I will obviously lead the side one day or the other.’
According to the 32-year-old, Inzamam-ul Haq is the best captain he has ever played under and wants to take the responsibility to guide the team in his absence.
‘I have played under lot of captains but Inzy bhai is special. When he took over as captain of the team it had very young players. But he developed the inexperienced team into a bunch of match winners,’ Yousuf said.
Inzamam was banned by the International Cricket Council for four one-day internationals for bringing the game into disrepute.
‘I am well aware of my role in his absence and hopefully I will be able to give 100 percent for the team,’ said Yousuf.
He felt the Champions Trophy is an open race and the team that plays well on a given day can win the tournament.
‘Pakistan has to perform better and consistently if they want to lift the trophy,’ he said.