Banned Yousuf hoping for a recall to Pakistan side

January 13th, 2009 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Jan 13 (IANS) Senior Pakistani batsman Mohammad Yousuf is still harbouring hopes of reviving his international career two months after he was banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for playing in the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).In a television interview Monday night, Yousuf said his first preference is Pakistan and he will continue to hope for a recall to the national duty.

Yousuf, 34, was banned from all cricket by PCB in November after he joined ICL.

“I did no crime,” said Yousuf. “I’m just playing cricket (in ICL) and hoping for a recall to the Pakistan team,” said Yousuf, regarded among Pakistan’s most prolific batsmen.

Yousuf took a swipe at the PCB for banning the country’s ICL players, saying it was towing the line of the Indian cricket board.

“I fail to comprehend why PCB continues to follow the instruction of the Indian board (over ICL). What have they given us? They even refused to tour Pakistan,” he said referring to India’s decision to cancel its cricket team’s tour of Pakistan because of strained relations between the two governments.

Yousuf, who has 79 Tests and 269 one-day internationals, also lashed out at Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik saying the all-rounder did not deserve to lead Pakistan.

“It is for the first time in Pakistan cricket that a player who is not a certain choice in the Test and one-day team has been made captain,” said Yousuf.

“Tell me, does Malik command a place in the Pakistan Test or one-day team? But still the board made him captain.”

Malik, 26, was appointed as Pakistan captain after the team’s disastrous first-round exit from the 2007 World Cup. The Board ignored several senior players including Yousuf and preferred Malik for captaincy.

Yousuf, who set a world record for most Test runs in a calendar year in 2006, said he joined the ICL after being treated shabbily by Malik and former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed.

“The way they dropped me from the Twenty20 team in 2007 without giving any reason or criteria for selecting players, I was hurt and disappointed,” he said referring to his omission from the Pakistan squad for the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship in South Africa in 2007.

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