The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has named Mohammad Yousuf among the probables for the Twenty20 quadrangular tournament in Toronto, which begins on October 10 and features hosts Canada, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. The board included Yousuf's name in the list submitted to the Canadian high commission for obtaining visas.
"Unfortunately, Yousuf missed the Twenty20 World Cup last September in South Africa and we have included his name in the list of probables. We hope that he will perform to a higher level in the national Twenty20 tournament and win a place in the national team," Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, told APP. "He is a world-class batsman and we want him to be part of the team as he would provide a tremendous boost. We firmly believe that he will put up a good performance in the national Twenty20 tournament."
Yousuf, 34, was in the middle of a controversy because of a possible move to the ICL and also for criticising the selectors for omitting him from Twenty20 teams. He has played 79 Tests and 269 ODIs, but managed only one Twenty20 international, in 2006 against England in Bristol.
"I don't think Twenty20 cricket is all about sloggers who hit out wildly. Even in this cricket you need a batsman who can play proper cricket," Yousuf told Reuters. "Considering the easy wickets nowadays, getting seven to eight runs per over at the start is not that difficult and, towards the end, you can hit 15 to 20 runs per over."
Meanwhile, Shoaib Akhtar, who was earlier included in the provisional squad, will have to wait for his visa to play in the quadrangular tournament because the PCB failed to get a clearance for him. "He was in England playing for Surrey and we didn't have his passport. So he has to wait. We will now send his name in the second list most probably," a board official said.
Shoaib is also awaiting the Lahore High Court's decision, expected next week, over whether he can play for Pakistan without paying a fine of Rs 7 million imposed on him by the appellate tribunal of the board.
Shoaib had publicly criticised the PCB for offering him a retainer rather than a contract in February, for which he was banned for five years. The ban was later reduced to eighteen months with the imposition of the fine, and then temporarily suspended by the High Court.
The final squad of 15 is expected to leave for Canada on October 8.