Yousuf goes back on criticism of cricket in Ramazan month

Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf has retracted from a recorded statement in which he criticised the holding of cricket matches during the ongoing holy month of Ramazan.

Yousuf was rushed to England last week to bolster the Pakistan team but chose not to immediately play in the second Test at Edgbatson because he has not competed since February.

Interestingly, the Pakistan team would be playing their remaining two Tests, both Twenty20s and three One-Dayers in England during the month of fasting.

“It is a sin to not fast during Ramazan for a Muslim, I don’t think cricket should be organised during Ramazan when one should focus on his religious obligations, I will never play cricket in Ramazan,” Yousuf had said on a show on ‘Geo Super channel’.

The channel has highlighted his statement since his recall to the team bringing into question the credibility of the former captain who converted to Islam from Christianity in 2005 while playing for Pakistan.

Yousuf, who now sports a full beard and remains engaged in religious tours when not in action on the field, was captain on the disappointing tour to Australia early this year where Pakistan were swept aside by Australia in all forms of the game.

“Yes he has this belief that one should not play cricket in Ramazan, but who said he will not fast in England. And if he is playing it is for the sake of the country, what is wrong with that?” a close friend and religious adviser to Yousuf said.

Sources in the Pakistan cricket Board say that before recalling him for the England tour, the PCB Chairman had first categorically asked Yousuf about his earlier statement about not playing in Ramazan.

“It was only after Yousuf assured Ijaz Butt that he was ready to play in Ramazan that the announcement was made to select him in the team,” one source said.

“The PCB was aware that the best part of series against England is falling in Ramazan and there was no use of sending him if he skipped the matches during the holy month.”


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