They say, the tough get going when the going gets tough. That applies perfectly to the very dynamic Indian batter Yusuf Pathan, who put on a show for the fans in Harare, when he used all his experience and powered his side, the Joburg Buffaloes, into the final of the inaugural edition of the Zim Cyber City Zim Afro T10, at the Harare Sports Club.
Yusuf batted with panache and power, scoring an unbeaten 80 from 26 deliveries, smashing 8 sixers and five boundaries, as the crowds cheered on for the Buffaloes.
Speaking about that innings during the Qualifier 1 contest against the Durban Qalandars, the experienced Indian cricketer said, “This is the first time I am playing in the T10. But, when you’re chasing a target of 140 runs, you don’t think of anything, you know you need to be calm and go for the big hits, and be the man for the team. This innings was one of my special performances for sure.”
So exhilarating was the manner of the win for the Buffaloes, that the celebrations too matched the occasion. The Bangladesh wicket-keeper batter Mushfiqur Rahim and Yusuf, too very experienced cricketers were over the moon, and created scenes that could remind a cricket fan of India’s 2011 ODI World Cup win. But what made this win even more special for Yusuf?
“This was a very special moment for sure. Also, it was wonderful because my son was sitting in the royal box and I wanted him to see the special moment. And I want him to feel proud of his father. One day, hopefully he gets inspired by these scenes and goes on to play for India,” Yusuf said with a smile that stretched from ear to ear.
Yusuf, who is fondly called ‘Shumba’, which means ‘Lion’, by his Joburg Buffaloes teammates, spoke about how everyone in the squad has put their hand up at various points to help the team progress through the tournament.
“I spoke to the young Zimbabwean players and motivated them at all times. And we did the small and simple things well. And everyone played their roles well and kept things simple. I’m happy with the young players, because it is a big tournament and when you contribute it is a good sign for their career,” Yusuf quipped.
Yusuf, who has used his brother Irfan’s bat on a few occasions during the course of the Zim Cyber City Zim Afro T10, and celebrated in a special manner by waving out to his brother, further added, “The senior players are responsible to give the required confidence to the young guns. This is your work because young players play a key role in crucial matches and that crucial match takes you forward. And when in difficult conditions young players play well it is good for their career too. Who knows they might play well again in the finals too. When we were young, we learned the same from our seniors.”