Mohammad Yousuf, the Pakistan batsman, has pulled out of the upcoming Faysal Bank T20 tournament, citing personal commitments. Allrounder Abdul Razzaq will take over the captaincy of Lahore Lions from Yousuf.
"My decision was purely based on my personal commitments," said Yousuf. "I don't know why [people are] portraying my ouster negatively but I can confirm that I am fit and still have the passion to play cricket."
Reports have surfaced from time to time suggesting that Yousuf has taken a silent retirement from all formats - and not for the first time - following the PCB's snub to him when handing out central contracts for the second half of the year. However, Yousuf has confirmed that he doesn't have any immediate intentions of retiring.
Yousuf, 37, a veteran of 90 Tests and 288 one-day internationals, last played for Pakistan in 2010 against South Africa, returning home midway due to fitness issues. "My fitness is no more a concern and if anyone wants to test my fitness level I have no issue as I been playing county cricket and recently returned after playing league cricket."
The Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) called Yousuf's decision to pull out a 'disappointing one'. "This is purely his own decision, we wanted him to play," LCCA president Khawja Nadeem said. "He was in the Lahore squad after [he agreed to play] and now he withdraws for personal reasons. The decision he conveyed today [Thursday] cited his personal commitments and nothing else. It's obviously disappointing news for us to miss a veteran batsman in our squad but still we have variety of batsman in our line-up. After Yousuf, now [Abdul] Razzaq wil captain the side."
Yousuf, scored 72, 109, 68 and 74* in four of his last six innings for Warwickshire on the English county circuit in May. Last year he left WAPDA and joined Lahore after a fallout with team-mate Rana Naved-ul-Hasan. However, WAPDA's head of sports, Naveed Akram Cheema, still remains optimistic about Yousuf's return to the department side while another department ZTBL are keen to have Yousuf for the upcoming season.