Uncertainty surrounding the future of Mohammad Yousuf continued as the former captain pulled out of the National Twenty20 Cup citing personal commitments.
While all-rounder Abdul Razzaq takes over the captaincy of Lahore Lions in the season-opening domestic tournament, doubts emerged over Yousuf’s injury and why he had to pull out. The experienced batsman, however, insisted that he was fit and still had the passion to continue playing cricket.
“My decision is based on my personal commitments,” Yousuf told The Express Tribune. “I don’t know why people are trying to portray me negatively but I can confirm that I’m fit and still have the passion to play cricket.”
Reports have surfaced that have suggested that Yousuf had opted against playing cricket after being constantly overlooked by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The board also snubbed the former captain from the list of central contracts, offered to players for the second half of the year.
But the 37-year-old confirmed that he has not distanced himself from cricket and had no intentions to retire. A veteran of 90 Tests and 288 One-Day Internationals, Yousuf last played for Pakistan in 2010 against South Africa, returning home midway through the tour due to fitness issues. He has been overlooked subsequently with suggestions that fitness was a concern but Yousuf clarified that that it was not a concern anymore.
“Fitness is no longer a concern and if anyone wants to test my fitness level I have no issues. I’ve been playing county cricket and have just returned after playing league cricket.”
With Yousuf missing out on the event, the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) said that it was disappointing.
“This is purely his own decision because we wanted him to play,” said LCCA President Khawaja Nadeem. “He was made a part of the squad after his consent and now he’s withdrawn suddenly. He has conveyed to us that the reason behind it is personal commitments and nothing else.
“It’s disappointing that we have to miss out on his experience but we still have a variety of players in our line-up.”
Yousuf displayed good form in the country championship as he scored 109, 68 and 72 in his last three innings for Warwickshire 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 remained optimistic over Yousuf’s return to the department side while another department ZTBL is also keen to sign Yousuf for the
“I don’t know why people are trying to portray me negatively but I can confirm that I’m fit and still have the passion to play cricket. My decision is based on my personal commitments.”
“He was made a part of the Lahore squad after his consent and now he has withdrawn. It’s disappointing that we have to miss out on his experience but we still have a variety of players in our line-up.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2011.
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