Pakistan news June 26, 2010

Yousuf targets UAE tour for international return

Cricinfo staff

Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf is aiming to return to the international fray during the tour of UAE in October and November, where Pakistan will face South Africa for two Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20. Yousuf has kept a low profile since his sudden retirement from international cricket in March, but he's now taking his first steps back in to some form of cricketing action by appearing in the Lahore Premier League, a local club tournament.

"I plan to play domestic cricket this season but right now international cricket is not on my mind. If I do plan to return I will target the Test and one-day series against South Africa later this year in the UAE," Yousuf told PTI.

Yousuf was the captain during Pakistan's win-less tour of Australia, where the team came under fire for their performances. The PCB responded by penalising seven players it believed were responsible for the defeats, Yousuf among them. He and Younis Khan were banned indefinitely, and as a mark of protest, Yousuf announced he was quitting the game "for now", hinting at a possible return later on. He was the only one among the seven players not to appeal against the punishment, despite the PCB leaving the door open for him to return. However, Yousuf hadn't responded to those messages from the board so the national selectors could not consider him for the tour of England.

Though the domestic season won't start for a few more months, Yousuf is looking forward to the club tournament to get back in to the groove.

"Cricket is in my blood and I still enjoy playing the sport. It will be a challenge to play again and specially in a club level tournament," Yousuf said.