Yousuf cleared to join Pakistan
Pakistan are confident recalled batsman Mohammad Yousuf will be able to play against England in the second npower Test at Edgbaston starting on Friday.
Yousuf was summoned to join the squad after Pakistan were thumped by 354 runs in the series opener at Trent Bridge, ending his brief retirement from international cricket.
There was confusion over whether the 35-year-old former captain had the correct documentation to come to England as a player.
However, a Pakistan spokesman said: “He has the visa. The administrative delay has been overcome.”
Yousuf, whose return to the squad caps a turbulent year in which he has also been skipper and had a life ban overturned by the Pakistan Cricket Board, is expected in the country at 12.30pm tomorrow.
That leaves less than 24 hours before the start of the Test, raising questions over the batsman’s readiness to face England.
Yousuf has been a lynchpin of Pakistan’s batting for the past decade, however, averaging more than 53.
He was nowhere near that as captain on the ill-fated tour of Australia, averaging under 30 in three Tests.
“It was a decision for the PCB,” said team-mate Mohammad Asif. “We don’t know whether he is in good form or not.
“I will have a look when he comes over and have a look at his condition.
“We are not depending on him - we still depend on the young side. If he arrives on time he can play - if he agrees to play.”
It will be one of the biggest tests imaginable of Yousuf’s renowned technique and resolve, to defy the circumstances and produce the sort of innings Pakistan crave.
Asif added: “I have heard he has been practising hard in the national cricket academy in Lahore.
“He is one of the legends of the game in Pakistan, so maybe he can come in and do it.”
Pakistan need others, as well as Yousuf, to contribute significantly if they are to hit back in the four-match series.
Their bowlers, led by the metronomic Asif, were excellent at Trent Bridge, in stark contrast to a faltering batting side.
“England were excellent, and the ball was swinging,” Asif said of the first-Test defeat.
“But our batting line-up contained a few newcomers - and for them, I think they had a few pressures on. We are still quite a good side and we will do better.
“We need to be mentally strong. We have not lost the series; we have just lost one game.”