Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka 2009 June 22, 2009

Yousuf returns to Test fold

Cricinfo staff

Mohammad Yousuf has returned to the Pakistan Test team barely a month after cutting ties with the unofficial ICL, and Abdul Razzaq has also been included in a 15-man squad for the tour to Sri Lanka which starts later this month.

Yousuf's return has been on the cards ever since he pulled out of the ICL and was welcomed back by the PCB; when he does make an appearance it will be his first for Pakistan since last year. "I'm very pleased about it. Playing for Pakistan is the biggest thing in anyone's career," Yousuf told Cricinfo.

Yousuf had signed up with the ICL in 2007 but was lured out of the contract by the PCB administration of the day. However, legal wrangles denied him an IPL contract in 2008 and he rejoined the ICL in November. That virtually ended his career with Pakistan, but at the end of May the ICL released Yousuf from his contract which meant he could return to official cricket.

Yousuf hasn't played a Test for Pakistan since December 2007, a lay-off he admitted might be difficult to battle initially. "It's a difficult question to answer because until you don't play you cannot say, but I will be putting in every effort."

The World Twenty20 win has proved beneficial for some players. Razzaq, who became the first former ICL player to return to international cricket after being banned when he joined Pakistan's Twenty20 squad in England recently, will also have a chance to resurrect his Test and ODI career.

Also in the squad is Mohammad Aamer, the left-arm fast bowler, who was initially included in the squad for the Bangladesh tour which got postponed earlier this year. After a strong showing in his maiden domestic season, taking 56 first-class wickets in ten games for Rawalpindi, he was given a chance at the ICC World Twenty20 and his success has earned him a place in the Test side.

Saeed Ajmal, the offspinner, has been included alongside Danish Kaneria. Ajmal has yet to play Test cricket but was crucial in Pakistan's success in England, with 12 wickets at 13.58. The opener Khurram Manzoor, who has played two Tests, has been recalled after being overlooked for the Bangladesh tour. No back-up wicketkeeper to Kamran Akmal has been named.

The PCB said Shahid Afridi had requested for 15 days' rest and will join the team for the ODIs in Sri Lanka. Pakistan will play three Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20. The tour begins with a three-day warm-up match in Colombo on June 29.

Squad: Younis Khan (capt), Salman Butt, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal (wk), Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Aamer, Danish Kaneria, Abdul Razzaq, Abdur Rauf, Fawad Alam, Faisal Iqbal.

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