Seeking a return to international cricket after a two-year absence, former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf has accepted the captain’s arm-band for Lahore Lions ahead of the National Twenty20 Cup that is due to take place from December 3 to 10.
After being told by selectors to show his form in the domestic circuit, Yousuf even tried to appear for PQA in the ongoing President’s Trophy but was refused permission by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which stated that he was ineligible according to the rules. However, the middle-order batsman, who has played 90 Tests and 288 One-Day Internationals, has been handed an opportunity by Lahore region.
“I’m looking forward to doing well in the T20 tournament and lead the Lions to the best of my abilities,” Yousuf told The Express Tribune. “I cannot predict how long I’ll be able to play international cricket for but for the time being, I feel fit enough to contribute for Pakistan. My aim is to return to international cricket by proving my form and fitness. I can’t say if I’ll be selected for the series against India or South Africa as it’s up to the selection committee and the PCB.”
The Lahore Regional Cricket Association (LRCA) President Khawaja Nadeem confirmed that they had named Yousuf as the Lions’s captain, adding that the offer was made because ‘Yousuf has been a great servant for Pakistan cricket’.
Yousuf, however, has pulled out at the eleventh hour prior to domestic matches various times in the past and Nadeem, aware of the situation, stressed that LRCA had played its part and it was up to Yousuf to make sure it counted.
Hafeez snubs Wolves to play for Lions
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s T20 captain Mohammad Hafeez has decided to snub Faisalabad Wolves after his long-standing differences with the city’s cricket association president Chaudhry Anwar and will be featuring in the star-studded Lions team.
It has also been learnt by The Express Tribune that Hafeez had initially wanted to be part of the Rawalpindi Rams squad and his name has been added by both teams with a final decision to be made at a later date. Even Saeed Ajmal had thought about turning up for the Rams but decided to feature for his local side where he is all set to open up an academy.
Hafeez, though, was not available to comment on the development.
LRCA requests Ali’s ban review
Meanwhile, LRCA has requested the PCB to review its one-year ban on left-arm fast-bowler Emmad Ali so that he could be possibly be included in the T20 squads and also get into reckoning for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
Ali was banned alongside KESC’s Bismillah Khan for a scuffle on the pitch during a grade-II match in April. Nadeem said that the player was close to completing seven months of his ban and the board should forgive him for his mistake as he is an important player for Lahore and a future prospect for Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2012.