Ageing batsman out to revive Pakistan career
Yousuf undergoes fitness test
LAHORE: Veteran Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf, along with other players, took part in a fitness test here on Tuesday to try to revive his international career, insisting he could still compete at the highest level. The other players were Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Aizaz Cheema, Mohammad Irfan and Sohail Tanvir. The 37-year-old Yousuf played the last of his 90 Tests against England at Lord’s in 2010 – a match marred by the spot-fixing scandal involving three of his team-mates. He has not been considered for selection in the last two years because he has not played in domestic matches in Pakistan, but he took part in a workout led by new Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore. “I have given a fitness test and now the result is in the hands of PCB,” Yousuf told reporters at the National Cricket Academy.
Yousuf rose from a poor background to become one of the most stylish batsmen Pakistan had ever produced, smashing 1,788 Test runs in 2006 – a world record for a calendar year. His career drifted after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) banned him for an indefinite period in March 2010 following the disastrous tour of Australia, which he captained. The ban was overturned to allow Yousuf a comeback on the 2010 England tour, during which Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were charged and eventually jailed for arranging deliberate no-balls for money. Yousuf, who has played 288 one-day and three Twenty20 internationals, said he had been playing regular cricket and wanted to feature in the English county championship, though a deal with Leicestershire fell through.
Whatmore said the fitness of all Pakistan players would be assessed before next month’s tour to Sri Lanka. “The fitness test was designed to give everyone an idea where they stand now and after a prescription of work to re-test and see the improvement,” he said. Pakistan play two Twenty20s, five one-day internationals and three Tests on their tour of Sri Lanka from late May to mid-July.