England v Pakistan, 3rd npower Test, The Oval August 17, 2010

Yousuf and Yasir recalled by Pakistan


Pakistan have made four changes - two of them forced - to the team that was beaten by England at Edgbaston. Two middle-order batsmen, Shoaib Malik and Umar Amin, have been dropped to make way for Mohammad Yousuf and Yasir Hameed, while the injured pair of Zulqarnain Haider and Umar Gul have been replaced by the squad's senior wicketkeeper, Kamran Akmal, and debutant left-arm seamer, Wahab Riaz, respectively. It is also likely that Pakistan will open with Hameed and Imran Farhat, with captain and regular opener Salman Butt dropping down to No. 3.

While Butt had confirmed during his afternoon press conference that Yousuf and Kamran were in line for recalls, he was cagey about revealing any further news. "We could make six changes because we have six sitting outside, but we will make only the ones required," he told reporters.

Later in the evening, however, during the selection meeting, it was decided that the right-hand batsman, Hameed, would come into the side as an opener. One of the two left-handers, Butt or Imran Farhat, will shift down to No. 3. Butt was likelier to do so given that he is both the captain and struggling for form at the top of the order, with just 16 runs coming from four innings in the first two Tests.

"Hameed is an experienced batsman. We just wanted to test the two youngsters [Azhar Ali and Umar Amin] because they have scored well in domestic cricket over the last two years," a senior official told Cricinfo.

Hameed, primarily an opener, returns to the Test arena after a long gap of three years. His last outing was against India in Bangalore at the end of a series in which he logged 158 runs at 26.33 without registering a half-century. But he has an aggressive streak which, if he clicks, can release the pressure of the new ball. At New Road over the weekend he opened with Azhar Ali in the rain-abandoned match against Worcestershire and played a few good strokes in his 27, but generally seemed a little distracted before chasing a wide delivery and edging it to the slips.

Though it might seem to be a dicey move to include Hameed, the team management had been left with little alternative after a summer of constant batting failures. The former captain Malik was especially disappointing as he failed to lead by example and a sum of 89 runs in the three Tests in the summer did not give any confidence to the tour selectors to retain him. Amin, who made his debut at Lord's against Australia in July, showed enthusiasm but was initially defeated by a series of unplayable deliveries, but later he failed to apply himself.

On the bowling front Riaz was preferred over the right-armer Tanvir Ahmed because of the prevailing overcast conditions. Riaz, lanky and tall, has enough pace to make the ball bounce and move, something he showed in the practice match against Leicestershire last month. "Both are good bowlers - one is very good new-ball bowler and the other is very good with the old ball," Butt said earlier in the day.

Pakistan 1 Yasir Hameed, 2 Imran Farhat, 3 Salman Butt (capt), 4 Azhar Ali, 5 Mohammad Yousuf, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Kamran Akmal (wk), 8 Mohammad Amir, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Mohammad Asif

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Yogesh on August 18, 2010, 12:59 GMT

    As of now pakistan team is luking great..and i am sure pakistan needs a legend in their batting as well....and finally that gap has been filled vth the legend batsman yousuf...luv u man...show all the people what u r capable of..Best wishes from an indian as i luv to c Pakistan comming back stongly..in the end we all are Asians

  • Dummy4 on August 18, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    That is very selfish of Salman Butt. Yasir Hameed has a lot of talent but to ask him to open an innings in testing conditions after a gap of over a year or so is unfair- man up Butt!

  • Steve on August 18, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    Interesting to see how many people have bagged Wahab Riaz - wonder if the wickets he took in the first session, tearing through the England batting line-up, will make them change their minds!

    Oh and A.D., Salman Butt IS listed in the Pak XI - just at no. 3 as suggested in the rest of the article.

  • Shiva on August 18, 2010, 11:52 GMT

    where is sohail tanveer? If he was included into the team this would have been the most dangerous bowling attack a batsman's nightmare. Even though i'm an indian I really admire this present bowling attack.

  • Dummy4 on August 18, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    Too little too late! It took Pakistan 3 test matches to get the team right! Let's hope that relief effort for the flood victims at home doest take as long!

  • Dummy4 on August 18, 2010, 11:04 GMT

    I think its right batting combination for Pakistan now, M yousaf and Y hameed are in ...and amin and malik are out ....

  • Sheraz on August 18, 2010, 9:40 GMT

    Well first of all thanks to Osman, who had started a needless war of karachi/lahore with his article, as already self-destructing Pakistan team wasn't enough that now Pakistan people have started self-destructing comments. One thing I don't get is that 2 matches back Salman Butt was our best batsman and captaincy had taken a toll on him and he's struggling, but give him time, two test is hardly any time. People are too impatient, they want results in a jiffy. Someone is saying Shoiab should be out, someone wants him in, thank God team selection is not in people's hands. People want Azhar out, have you forgotten he was playing in second test and his stay on crease what made us win against Australia, give it a break people. One thing rather two thing, both Y's won't have much impact on the game, and soon we all be calling to axe them as well.

  • Mubarik on August 18, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    Well said Kahif, If we think like this then may we perform some thing better then previous games. So, lets hope for the best and sport these guys.

  • Dummy4 on August 18, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    wahab riaz will prove his selection in his first match.....watch out for him!!!

  • Syed Rafaqat on August 18, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    its nice to see Yousuf came back. but we need also Younus khan in the middle order. then we will capable to score some runs on the board. i request to the PCB please baring back Younas khan. Good Luck Mr Yoususf and pakistan

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