Yousuf appeals to Zardari for Pakistan recall

February 14th, 2009 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Feb 14 (IANS) Pakistan’s premier batsman Mohammad Yousuf Saturday appealed to President Asif Zardari to help resurrect his derailed international career.

Yousuf told a crowded press conference at the Karachi Press Club that he was still good enough to play at the top level for at least three more years, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has discarded him over links with the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL).

“Am I not a Pakistani?” asked Yousuf. “Haven’t I given my best for Pakistan as a cricketer? But the people running cricket in this country have pushed me out of the game just because I’m playing in a cricket league in India. If that is a crime, then they should also ban players featuring in the IPL and county cricket,” he stressed.

Yousuf said that he hopes that Zardari - who is PCB’s chief patron - will intervene and help him return to national duty.

“I’m desperate to play for Pakistan. My country has always been my priority and I hope that the president will help me.

“I’m still one of the best players in the world. My world ranking among Test batsmen is No. 9. I’m also among the top 10 ODI batsmen. That shows that I’m good enough to play for my country.”

Yousuf is one of the 20 players who were banned by the PCB over their association with the breakaway ICL. But the Sindh High Court has suspended the domestic ban on the ICL players.

But players like Yousuf are still far away from playing for Pakistan as the PCB has said it cannot bring them back in the national team because of International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations. Yousuf said that he doesn’t believe that the ICC has banned the ICL players. “I believe it is a decision taken by the PCB and it can remove it.”

Meanwhile, the PCB has taken strong note of Yousuf’s previous media interview in which he has accused PCB of following the guidelines provided by the Indian cricket board as far as the ICL issue is concerned.

“Yousuf’s allegation against the Board was incorrect and an attempt to malign the institution. The PCB is an independent body which only takes directives from the ICC which is the governing body of world cricket. There was no truth in Yousuf’s allegation that the PCB was towing the line of its counterpart in India.

“The PCB and all cricket boards are components of ICC and they only take directives from the ICC.”

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