Mohammad Yousuf shuns rebel Indian league
LAHORE, September 27: Record-breaking Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf said on Thursday he has ditched a contract with the breakaway Indian Cricket League and will play for his national side.
Yousuf, 33, signed with the multi-million dollar ICL last month after he was not selected for the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa, in which Pakistan reached the final.
But after a lengthy meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf in the eastern city of Lahore, Yousuf said that he had been convinced to sign a central contract.
“I have always wanted to play for my country and I can sacrifice my life for my country,” Yousuf said.
“I did not know about the clause in the Indian league contract that if both the league and Pakistan team matches are held at the same time I had to give preference to the league. I cannot agree to that,” he added.
The development means Yousuf will be available to play for Pakistan in the first Test against South Africa starting from Monday.
Yousuf scored a world record of 1,788 runs in a calendar year in 2006 and was declared the best Test player of the year, but was not picked for the Twenty20 tournament.
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, opener Imran Farhat and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq also signed up for the rebel league, bankrolled by country’s biggest media group which owns the Zee television.
The PCB had warned that players signing for the Indian league would not be considered for selection in the Pakistan team.
“I had a fruitful meeting with Yousuf and he has signed the central contract with the PCB after agreeing not to play in the Indian league. He is available to play for Pakistan,” Ashraf said.
Ashraf said Yousuf has been a star for Pakistan team. “Yousuf has been the backbone of Pakistan team’s batting and we are happy that he is back and will bolster the team against South Africa,” said Ashraf.
Yousuf has played 75 Tests, scoring 6,553 runs. He also has 8,081 runs in 242 One-Day Internationals.
Pakistan are due to announce their squad for the first Test on Friday.