LAHORE: Although former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf’s career appears silent right now, various departments and regions still consider him a ‘useful’ player and intend to use his services for the upcoming domestic season.
Reports surfaced last week that Yousuf had announced his retirement from all formats – and not for the first time – following the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) snub to him when handing out the central contracts for the second half of the year. However, the former batsman is yet to confirm his latest retirement in public as he is currently in England playing for Smethwick cricket club.
Despite the report, the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) President Khawaja Nadeem – who has close relations with the batsman – ruled out the news citing it mere speculation.
“We’ve already offered him a place in the regional squad for the upcoming season,” Nadeem told The Express Tribune. “He’s a great player and should be treated with utmost respect and honour. I don’t know what future the PCB has decided for him but I can confirm that he hasn’t retired.”
The 36-year-old, a veteran of 90 Tests and 288 One-Day Internationals, last played for Pakistan in 2010 against South Africa, returning home midway due to fitness issues.
“I think there’s a vast communication gap between Yousuf and the PCB which needs to be sorted out as soon as possible. He still has a year of cricket left in him and I think his services for Pakistan cricket are exceptional and Pakistan should utilise whatever is left of him.”
Meanwhile, The PCB confirmed to The Express Tribune that the batsman has neither shared his retirement decision with the board nor has he shown availability.
Domestic cricket awating Yousuf
Yousuf, who turns 37 this month, scored 109, 68 and 72 in his last three innings for Warwickshire in the English county championship in May. Last year he left Wapda and joined Lahore after a fallout with teammate Rana Navedul Hasan. However, Wapda’s head of sports Naveed Akram Cheema still remains optimistic about Yousuf’s return to the department side.
“He resigned from the side last year,” said Cheema. “The door was never shut on him. He’s a wonderful player and everyone wants him to play for them. So whenever he wants to return, the department will welcome him.”
On the contrary, another departmental side ZTBL is very keen to recruit Yousuf for the upcoming season.
“The bank intended to hire him but failed to establish any contact with him,” said ZTBL Manager Sports Masood Anwar. “He’s one of the finest batsmen in the country and a fabulous player to have in the squad. I learnt about his retirement but I’m sure it’s just speculation as he never appeared before the media or conveyed this to anyone else.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2011.
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