Yousuf hopeful of making a comeback to Test cricket

Lahore: Despite being ignored once again by the selectors for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, former Pakistan cricket captain Mohammad Yousuf has said that he has not given up hope on making a comeback to Test cricket.

"I want to complete the milestone of playing 100 Tests. There are so many players still active on the international circuit who have played 100 Tests. I have just played 90. I am not disappointed nor have I given up," Yousuf told reporters here.

Yousuf, 37, who has scored 7530 Test runs at an average of 52, has not been picked since his last appearance for Pakistan against South Africa in the UAE in November, 2010.

The selectors have insisted that Yousuf, who has become heavily involved in religion and frequently gives sermons in mosques and goes on preaching tours, needs to first play domestic cricket regularly and prove his form and fitness to warrant consideration for the national team.

Yousuf said he was expecting a recall to the Test side for the Sri Lanka tour as he had spent a lot of time in the nets and also underwent a fitness test under the supervision of new coach, Dav Whatmore.

"I was expecting a recall at least for the Tests but it has not come. I`m not disappointed nor have I given up. My ambition is to play 100 Tests like many other greats and I will continue to work hard for that," he said.

From Pakistan only Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Salim Malik have played 100 or more Tests.

Meanwhile, chief selector, Iqbal Qasim has come under fire from senior allrounder Abdul Razzaq, who has also been ignored by the national selectors since late last year and was also overlooked for the Sri Lanka tour.

Razzaq on Tuesday told reporters that he could not expect fairness from selectors who according to him only do their jobs because of public relations.

He also insisted that after serving Pakistan cricket for 16 years and still being active in foreign leagues, he didn`t need to prove his worth to anyone.

Yousuf, who broke the record for most Test runs in a calendar year in 2006, however refrained from making strong comments but pointed out that the selectors also needed to keep in mind a player`s background and performances in international cricket while taking decisions.

"My fitness is good for Test cricket and I have been working very hard on it. My ambition for the sport is still there and that is very important," he said.

Speaking on India Pakistan relationship, Yousuf insisted that throughout his career no contest evoked as much passion among the teams and spectators as an Indo-Pak match.

"The level of cricket and competition is totally different when we play India. That is why I support any move to restore bilateral ties with India. It will be good for cricket if Pakistan and India resume playing regular bilateral cricket," he said.