Lahore: Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf is hungry to play international cricket once again and said that if the selectors want him to appear in domestic cricket, he will follow their criteria for national selection.
Yousuf, who has appeared in 90 Tests and 288 one-day internationals, last played in a domestic match in July last year, when he appeared for Lahore in the national Super Eights T20 event in Faisalabad. "I have regained my passion for the sport and to play for Pakistan once again. If the selectors want me to play domestic cricket, I will do it," he told PTI.
The 37-year-old caused a stir in Pakistan cricket circles recently when he took and passed a fitness test conducted by the national team coach, Australian Dav Whatmore, leading to speculation that the senior batsman would be considered for the upcoming tour to Sri Lanka.
But chief selector Iqbal Qasim, after meeting with Whatmore in Lahore, insisted that while they had nothing against any player, the criteria for selection remained that everyone had to appear in domestic cricket. "It is good Yousuf has given a fitness test and wants to play for Pakistan again. But he has to first play in domestic cricket and show his match-fitness, to be considered for national selection," Qasim said.
Sources said that the chief selector had sorted out all issues with Whatmore and made it clear that the selectors would not consider anyone who had not played domestic cricket.
Yousuf has not been considered for national selection since November 2010. "My job is to fulfill the requirements of the selectors and the board to be considered for selection, the rest is up to God," Yousuf said. He also said that he had great faith and would play in domestic cricket and show everyone he was still ready for international cricket.
Since scoring a world-record 1,788 Test runs in the calendar year of 2006, Yousuf has averaged around 36 in 17 Tests with just one century and seven half-centuries in a total of 1128 runs. But Yousuf insisted age was not a problem for him. "I am happy that I passed the fitness test and I know my time will come," he said. "I don't want to take any shortcut into the national team. I will perform and wait for my turn."
Yousuf also said that even if the selectors did not consider him for the upcoming Sri Lankan tour, he would not be disappointed and would just continue to work hard.